The mother of 2-year-old quintuplets (search) faces criminal charges after being accused of leaving four of them and their 3-year-old brother home alone while she took a fifth quint to a doctor's appointment.

Christine Moungowoolford (search), 30, of Warren County, was charged last week with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child. The children were left alone for about an hour and 20 minutes, authorities said.

According to court records, a sheriff's deputy had found the five children alone after a social worker visited March 23 and contacted authorities.

"You've got a child less than 4 years old arguably supervising the 21-month-old kids," prosecutor Mike Wright told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I hope that wasn't her thought process, but I'm not sure what your thought process is when you leave children like that at home for an extended period of time."

Moungowoolford declined to comment, the newspaper said.

The quintuplets — girls Maryelysee, Natalie, Sidney and Jacquelynn, and their brother Joshua — were born nearly nine weeks premature. Prosecutors said they delayed filing charges while they investigated, and also took into account the family's tough financial situation.

Wright said he does not want to put the mother in jail but was concerned about the welfare of the children. He said he believed the children were removed from the home and were later returned after a plan for their care was worked out with Division of Family Services (search).

The newspaper said that in an August 2003 feature story, Christine Moungowoolford and her husband, Valmore, said they were struggling with medical expenses and other costs related to the quints. The husband, a truck driver, was often out of town for days at a time.