Children forced to sleep on porch

February 24, 2012 7:34:06 PM PST
A Johnston County mother could soon face criminal charges for leaving her children home alone overnight, according to police.

After getting off their school bus Wednesday afternoon, Smithfield Police allege the mother left her 7-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son at home telling them she was going to give someone a ride.

Police said the children spent the night on their porch Wednesday after accidentally getting locked out of the home.

"They slept outside, they were outside during the thunderstorm," said Smithfield Police Department Lt. Robert Powell.

Temperatures were in the 40s Wednesday night, but the children survived the storms unharmed. The next morning, the children found an open window, and a neighbor saw the children and alerted police.

"They realized the window was unlocked, climbed back in, fixed them some breakfast, went next door to use the telephone and at that point the neighbor called us," said Powell.

Police said the mother told them she was stuck at a friend's house and could not get home to her children.

"She took a friend home and someone else borrowed the car and didn't come back until later on," said Powell. "She wasn't able to get back home, according to her."

The children are staying with family members, but so far the mother has not been charged.

Neighbors told ABC11 that no one has been at the house since social services and police were there Thursday morning.

Police are working with the district attorney, and said charges could include child neglect and child endangerment.

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