A Texas mother left her five children at home alone while she traveled to South Carolina last year to look for a job and go to the beach, investigators said.
The youngest child was 15 months old.
Chrystal Walraven was arrested Feb. 11 and charged with two counts of abandoning or endangering a child, The Austin American-Statesman reported.
The children were placed into foster care but are now living with relatives, the Statesman reported.
An arrest warrant was not issued until February because authorities needed to conduct a thorough investigation, Rick White, a Round Rock police spokesman, told the Statesman.
A school principal called police about the children Aug. 29, 2018, after some of the children had talked at school about staying up all night in order to change their baby sister's diaper, the Statesman reported.
Police went to the house, and a 10-year-old boy answered the door. The boy said everything was OK. Officers could smell feces and garbage emanating from the house and went inside.
They found a 15-month-old in a crib with a blanket stuffed in her mouth. The other children, a 12-year-old boy and 6- and 3-year-old girls, were living in filth, investigators said.
A dirty diaper was in a closet, there were flies in the kitchen and knives were readily accessible to the children, the Statesman reported.
The teacher from their school called a man listed as the father of the children, who told her a neighbor was watching the children.
A neighbor made dinner for the children the night before police arrived. She said the father of one of the children had been taking care of and checking on them, but she was not quite sure what was going on with them, the Statesman reported.
Another man, reported to be the father of one of the children, went to police Aug. 29 to get his child. He told police that Walraven asked him to watch all five children but he said he couldn’t. He did check on the children while she was gone.
Walraven told police she left the children alone Aug. 25 to look for a job opportunity in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
She left the children at home “because she needed to get away with everything that was happening at home,” investigators said.
Her husband had moved to Arkansas weeks earlier.
She told investigators she had a flight to Myrtle Beach scheduled Aug. 25 but missed it. She drove back home and left Aug. 26 on another flight, the Statesman reported.
Walraven told authorities she checked on a job and visited tourist locations with a male friend. She was supposed to return Aug. 28, but her flight was delayed multiple times. She eventually returned home Aug. 30.
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