Texas mom facing up to 20 years in jail for leaving her five kids home alone during Myrtle Beach trip
A Texas mom is facing up to 20 years behind bars for leaving her five children home alone for days while she enjoyed some fun in the sun on a trip to to South Carolina.
Chrystal Nichole Walraven was arrested in February and charged with two counts of abandoning or endangering a child, which is a second-degree felony. Her children range in age from 15 months to 12 years old.
The 28-year-old mother told authorities she traveled to Myrtle Beach back in August “because she needed to get away from everything that was happening at home” and to investigate a job opportunity, according a newly-released affidavit obtained by the Austin Statesman.
She stayed with a male friend during her days away and went to the beach as well as other tourist attractions while her children struggled to get by back at home.
Authorities were alerted to the situation on Aug. 29 when the Gattis Elementary School principal expressed concern regarding a conversation she overheard between several of Walraven’s children. They had been talking about staying up all night and having to change their little sister’s diaper, according to the affidavit.
When a police officer reported to the home later the same day, he was greeted by a 10-year-old boy and the “overwhelming odor” of feces and garbage coming from inside.
Upon entering the residence, officers discovered a 15-month-old in a crib they initially believed to be dead. Once they removed the blanket covering the infant and rubbed her face however, they realized she was breathing.
Walraven’s 12-year-old son and her two older daughters, ages 6 and 3, were also left in the home.
According to the affidavit, police found a dirty diaper in the closet, stains on the carpets, and knives the children could have easily accessed.
Police called Child Protective Services and the siblings were placed in foster care. They have since been moved and are now staying with a relative.