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Baby found in motel room during methamphetamine bust


A 5-month-old child was found in a Levy County motel room where two men were arrested Wednesday night for manufacturing methamphetamine.

The child’s father, 27-year-old Russell Girdler, and 26-year-old Sean Franzius were arrested and charged with manufacture of methamphetamine in the presence of a child. Franzius was also charged with keeping a drug dwelling. A woman, 24-year-old Judith Gazdun, was in a second motel room and charged with child abuse, possession of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The Levy County Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force investigated the reported methamphetamine production at the Bronson Motel, 315 N Hathaway Ave., and requested a search warrant for rooms 20 and 21.

Lt. Scott Tummond said deputies entered the two rooms at 9:15 p.m. and found Girdler, Franzius and Gazdun with supplies to manufacture methamphetamine.

Tummond said the Department of Children and Family Services has taken custody of the child.

“Unfortunately we find that innocent children are frequently subjected to situations like this based on the bad decisions of the parent or guardian,” Tummond said.

Bond amounts range from $100,000 to $200,000. No trial date has been set.

About Alexa Volland

Alexa is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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