LORAIN — Police and Lorain County Children Services are investigating a family after a neighbor reported that the mother often left the children alone at home while she stayed at her boyfriend’s house.
The neighbor called police at 7:55 p.m. Monday, telling police she was fed up with her neighbor’s neglect of her children. She told police that the woman would leave her 13-, 10- and 5-year-old child with her 15-year-old daughter for hours.
The neighbor said she had been taking care of the younger children and had confronted the mother after hearing of her plans to move the children out of the state, but she said the mother continued leaving the children alone, locking two of them out of the house while she was gone. She told authorities the children came to her house on East 30th Street to ask for food because their mother left them without it.
The neighbor said the children were filthy and smelled. During one occasion, she found the 5-year-old eating a can of chili out of the garbage, according to a police report.
She told police that she offered to take custody of the children from the mother, and she was afraid that if the family moved, the mother would continue to neglect the kids.
Police spoke with the 13- and 10-year-olds, who told an officer that their mother does leave them alone for several days and nights. They said their 15-year-old sister is supposed to watch them but she leaves, according to police.
The children told police that their mother comes home from her boyfriend’s house only to wake them up for school, and she occasionally drops off groceries.
Police attempted to contact the mother but she was not home, according to the report. An officer spoke with the 15-year-old daughter, who denied the allegations and said the neighbor only wants more “money and food stamps.”
Police said the 15-year-old did not seem concerned about her siblings’ whereabouts, and the home was in disarray. The refrigerator contained little food, and the children were sleeping on mattresses supported by plastic totes and milk crates, according to the report.
Police contacted Lorain County Children Services, who suggested the children stay with the neighbor while an investigation is initiated.
The mother came to get the children at 10:11 p.m., and she denied the allegations, stating that her children have discipline problems and that they leave the house without her permission. When asked why she doesn’t stay with the children, she told police that she is either at her father’s house or her boyfriend’s house in Elyria, but she denied leaving the children by themselves for “days on end.”