A MUM, 28, faces up to 20 years in jail for allegedly abandoning her five kids while she took a beach holiday because she needed to “get away”.
Chrystal Walraven, of Round Rock in Texas, left her children home alone for several days while she travelled to South Carolina, say cops.
She was charged with child abandonment as police say there were five children – aged from 15 months to 12 years – left at Walraven’s home while she was out of state, reports Fox 7 News.
Abandoning or endangering a child is a second degree felony, punishable by two-to-20 years in prison.
The Round Rock Police Department said they visited the Walraven’s home in late August last year after the Gattis Elementary School principal expressed concern over one of their student’s home life.
Court documents say that Walraven’s children complained to the principal about having to stay up all night to change their sibling’s nappies.
Cops visited shortly afterwards, and said that when they entered the home, it reeked of garbage and faeces, and there were flies in the kitchen.
There was an infant in a crib near the front door, while the other four kids were also left alone in the home.
The house was described as being in disarray, with stained carpets, scattered dirty nappies, and that knives were within reach of the children.
As a result, the cops called Child Protective Services.
Infant seemed “dead”
Authorities said that at first, the 15-month-old appeared dead in her crib, with a blanket covering her mouth, reports Mail Online.
It was only after a worried cop took the blanket off her face, and tried to stir her that she moved, and took a visible breath.
An affidavit said the mum was staying with a male friend in Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.
Although she was due to return home on August 28 last year, she failed to arrive until August 30.
Walraven told cops this was due to her flight being delayed several times.
Mail Online reports that Walraven told cops her husband had left their home weeks before her trip, and had moved to Arkansas.
When police located Walraven, she said she had been taking a trip to Myrtle Beach for four days to check out a job.
She also said that she had visited tourist attractions in the area.
Confusion over who was looking after the kids
Police contacted the dad of several of the children.
He claimed a neighbour was watching them while their mum was away.
However, when officers contacted that neighbour, she said that the father of another child was checking on them.
But cops said that man also denied being responsible for supervising the kids.
Court documents said Chrystal told police she should not have left the kids alone.
Neighbours told FOX 7 they assumed Walraven was at work.
They explained that her kids often played outside until midnight, and that the children appeared excited when Child Protection Services arrived.
A warrant was issued for Walraven’s arrest in early February.
She turned herself in on child abandonment and endangerment charges on February 11 and bonded out the same day.
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Walraven told KXAN that one of the children’s fathers “was supposed to be over here with the kids, and he even told him that he was here the night before… and that he got them food and everything.”
She said they “definitely” were “not abandoned”.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said the kids were initially placed in foster care, but are currently staying with one of the children’s dads.
A version of this article first appeared on Fox 7 News.
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