Photo: KSTP File Photo
Photo: KSTP File Photo
July 28, 2016 04:26 PM
A Burnsville man and woman have both been charged with child neglect and child endangerment after concerned neighbors reported to police that three young children were often left alone and unsupervised all day and night.
The concerns were first reported in May 2015, and the 28-year-old woman and 30-year-old man – who are not being named to protect the identity of the children – have now been charged.
On May 18, 2015, police were called to a Burnsville home on a report that three young children might be alone. The caller had been driving down a road near the home and had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting a girl who ran into the street, according to the criminal complaint. The caller saw two other boys playing with the girl but didn’t see any adults. The caller later learned that the kids may have been left alone, so police were called.
Later, an investigator talked to the 10-year-old boy at school. The boy told the officer his parents often left him alone with his siblings, ages 7 and 5, while they go to work. The boy said his parents left him a cellphone so he can call if he or his siblings got hurt, but the phone is broken.
The boy also said he goes to bed whenever he wants and is often tired at school, according to the complaint. He also told police that he's not capable of watching his siblings.
A teacher at the school told police the 10-year-old child has autism and functions at the age of a second-grader. She said the boy’s homework is not always done and that he often complains he’s hungry.
Police then spoke to the 7-year-old boy, who said his parents leave before dinner at 6 p.m. and that the kids are left alone until 7 a.m. During that time, the 10-year-old is left in charge, according to the complaint.
The boy said his parents had been leaving them home alone for the past six months.
Police then spoke with the mother, who admitted to leaving the children at home alone while she is at work and said she knew it was not the right thing to do, according to the complaint.
She told police that a fire extinguisher is under the sink, but the kids don’t know how to use it. She also said she left the children a cellphone but admitted the phone is broken.
A neighbor who had been in the home told police there was very little food in the home, that there were piles of laundry and that the kids were still wearing the same clothes they had worn the previous day.
The neighbor said the kids told her it's a "secret" and that they aren’t supposed to tell anyone they are home alone. She also said the parents sleep all day when they get home, so the kids are left unsupervised during the day as well, according to the complaint.
The parents have each been charged with child neglect and child endangerment. If convicted, they each face up to one year in prison and up to $3,000 in fines on each charge.
The woman's first court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 26, and the man's first court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 29.
Editor's Note: The story has been updated after the Dakota County Attorney's Office confirmed that the father has also been charged.
Updated: July 28, 2016 04:26 PM
Created: July 28, 2016 11:34 AM
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