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Harris County mother leaves brood to wed in Africa

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by poindexter, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. poindexter

    poindexter Well-Known Member

    On welfare: check
    No father in the situation: Check
    Oldest kid in jail: Check

    Heyabbot, this is your lucky day

    CPS: Harris County mother leaves brood to wed in Africa

    Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

    A Harris County woman could face child endangerment charges after allegedly leaving eight children home alone while she traveled to Africa to marry a man she met on the Internet, authorities said Thursday.

    Charges are pending against the woman, whose name was withheld Thursday. She reportedly flew to Nigeria on Monday, leaving the children with little food and no money.

    Veteran Harris County authorities said the children's case is one of the saddest they've seen.

    "It's just terrible," said Lt. John Martin of the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

    A deputy making a welfare check at a home in the 11000 block of Barker Grove Lane in Cypress about 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday found six children between the ages of 1 and 9 alone inside, Martin said.

    "At first the children would not answer the door, but the deputy managed to persuade them to let him in," he said. "What he found inside the house was just deplorable conditions. There was trash everywhere, roaches everywhere. He said every item of clothing in the house was dirty and there was very little food."

    The children told the deputy their mother had left several days ago and they didn't know how to reach her, Martin said.

    "The children were given no way to contact the mother, even if there was some kind of emergency," he said.

    Later on Wednesday night a 15-year-old girl arrived at the house and told authorities her mother had flown to Nigeria on New Year's Eve.

    The teen said her mother left her in charge of four siblings — a 1-year-old boy, a 7-year-old boy, an 8-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy, said Estella Olguin, a spokeswoman for Child Protective Services. The teen was also caring for a neighbor's 3-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl, Olguin said.

    Investigators spoke with the neighbor, who said he regularly left his two toddlers at the woman's house while he worked. The man said he didn't know the conditions inside the home were so bad, Olguin said.

    The neighbor, who authorities did not identify, told investigators he had driven the woman to the airport for a one- to two-month trip to Africa, where she planned to marry a man she'd met online.

    The neighbor said the woman had told him that her sister was due to arrive by bus from New Orleans to look after the children.The sister, however, had not arrived by the time deputies discovered the children alone three days later, Olguin said.

    Investigators are in the process of contacting the sister and other relatives to confirm the story and find out what happened, she said.

    CPS is also investigating the neighbor, Olguin said.

    Meanwhile, the children have been placed in foster homes, she said.

    The children's situation first came to authorities' attention after the 15-year-old crashed her mother's van into the garage on Monday, Olguin said. The teen called a volunteer child advocate, terrified.

    "She wanted to run away because she was afraid how her mother was going to react," Olguin said.

    She said the teen was simply overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for so many other children.

    "There was no food in the home and mom didn't leave them any money," Olguin said. "The 15-year-old said she had to steal food and diapers."

    The burden of caring for the others fell on the teenager because her older sister, who is 16, spends most of her time out of the house with friends and her 14-year-old and 18-year-old brothers are serving time in juvenile detention and prison for robbery and aggravated assault, respectively, Olguin said.

    The family apparently evacuated to LaPorte from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and then evacuated to Houston from LaPorte after Hurricane Rita, she said.

    Hungry and scared, the children are otherwise healthy, Olguin said, although the 1-year-old baby appeared to be malnourished.

    "They're little survivors," she said.

    Burt and Stasia Venecia were walking by the home where the children lived Thursday night, shocked by the damage to the garage door and the news that children in their neighborhood were neglected.

    "You work hard and move to a nice neighborhood and never in a million years think that this will happen down the street," Burt Venecia said.

    Another neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said he isn't surprised to learn that the children next door were left alone for days. The family, who moved from Louisiana to Texas after Hurricane Katrina, have had problems, he added.

    "But it's not the kids' fault. I still can't believe that we were throwing out food next door at our house and they had no food," he said.

    "I hope they're in a better place," he said. "They don't stand a chance at a good life in that home."
  2. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    Um, would this make her an American-African?


    What about the kids? Who'll think of the kids!?
  3. Bill Brasky

    Bill Brasky Active Member

    How irresponsible can you be? You've got to have mental issues to take off like that.
    I swear, it aggrivates me that you need a license to open up a freakin' snow cone stand, but any two dipshits with functioning sex organs can become parents....no matter how dumb, irresponsible or self-centered they are.
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I love how the 15-year-old was left not only to take care of her six brothers and sisters but the neighbor's two kids!
  5. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Maybe she went there to collect her lottery winnings!
  6. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    I hope their mom at least brings back some T-shirts for the "little survivors."
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