Local

Children left home alone in feces-filled home

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Four children were found home alone, hungry and living in terrible conditions. The home they lived in was later destroyed by fire. It's a strange twist in a case of suspected abuse in a quiet neighborhood in Spring.

A mother is behind bars, accused of leaving her four small children alone, in filthy conditions. They lived in a home on Prairie Bird Lane in Spring.

The home where those children lived is now destroyed. It burned early Sunday morning and investigators call it arson.

The charred remnants of this home don't accurately depict the conditions which four children were forced to endure there, alone.

"Feces on the floor, urine on the floor," said prosecutor Heyward Carter. "There was no food in the house. What little food was in the refrigerator was spoiled."

According to court documents, on November 23, a seven-year-old boy wandered from the home in search of food for him and his three younger siblings, ages six, four and three. A neighbor gave the boy sandwiches and walked him home. The neighbor called authorities after witnessing the deplorable conditions. The children's mother, Angelic Gibson, 32, was nowhere to be found. That night Child Protective Services took custody of the children.

A neighbor who watched told Eyewitness News the children were skinny and filthy.

"That is so sad," said neighbor Dina Ware. "That just don't make no sense for nobody to leave there kids like that. They're innocent little children."

For three weeks, law enforcement couldn't locate Gibson. She was arrested late Sunday. CPS had placed all four of those children in the homes of relatives. But a spokesperson says Gibson previously told relatives the youngest was actually not hers. That the relative then gave the child back to Gibson to return the girl to her parents. As a result, CPS took custody of the toddler.

CPS spokesperson Gwen Carter said, "We are in court today to take custody of that two-year-old. We took emergency custody yesterday. She is in a foster home. She's doing well."

Arson investigators won't say if Gibson is a suspect in the arson at her home. At this point they're not ruling anyone out.

Investigators say Gibson had left the children alone for at least five hours, though she told them she'd just gone to the store. Her attorney says he questions the officer's account of the living conditions in the home, though that attorney has not yet seen any pictures of what the officer calls "unlivable."

Defense attorney Jerry Guerinot explained, "The pictures, if they took any, will tell us exactly what the scene truly looked like, as opposed to what he thinks it looked like."

Gibson, 32, faces two felony charges of abandoning a child. Her bail has been set at $4,000. If convicted, she could be sent to prison for up to two years.

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