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“You have a responsibility,” sheriff’s lieutenant says after woman admits going to a bar
A Cotulla woman who admitted to officers that she left four small children unattended in order to drink at a local bar has been jailed on felony charges of abandonment and endangerment.
Identified as Noelia Garcia, 30, a resident of the Madison Pointe apartment complex on Mars Drive at North Main Street, the woman reportedly spent Sunday evening, September 4, in a bar while her children were left unsupervised.
La Salle County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Homar Oliverz said investigators remain unsure how many hours the youngsters were unattended but added that deputies were dispatched to the apartment complex shortly after 11:30 p.m. after a neighbor reported the situation.
La Salle Cpl. Michael Hernandez and Deputy Miguel Limon arrived at the scene and attempted to ascertain whether there was an adult in the apartment with the children, Olivarez said.
The sheriff’s office has confirmed that the four children were all under the age of five.
“We were notified that the mother had left the children to go out to a bar,” the lieutenant said. “The officers saw a child in the apartment window but could not make further contact or establish communication. Neighbors at the complex attempted to assist by trying to locate the mother when it became apparent that the small children were unsupervised.”
Garcia returned to Madison Pointe after officers had been at the scene for at least thirty minutes, Olivarez said, and admitted that she had left her children without adult supervision.
“She told officers she had left the children because she wanted to go out and have a drink,” the lieutenant said. “The children were evaluated on scene by representatives of Child Protective Services and Garcia was taken into custody on four felony counts of child abandonment or endangerment.”
The sheriff’s office reports that the children have been placed in the custody of a family member.
Olivarez said officers entering the apartment noted that the residence features a “tall, narrow and steep” staircase from its front door to the upstairs living quarters. Small children left unattended at the top of such a staircase, he said, “are in serious danger.”
“If you have children of any age, you have a responsibility as an adult for their care and supervision,” the lieutenant said. “You do not reserve the right to abandon them in favor of your own selfish wants, such as going out to a bar when you feel like it.
“Our officers were doing their due diligence in following up on this report of abandonment, to determine if there was any truth to the call regarding a woman leaving her small children,” Olivarez added. “We will pursue felony charges against those who put our youngest and most vulnerable citizens in danger.”