9-year-old twins left mostly alone as parents took trip to Africa

An uncle left his two 9-year-old twin nephews mostly alone in a New Hampshire apartment when the boys' parents took three siblings to Nigeria for four months.

Manchester police said 25-year-old Giobari Atura told the boys he would stop by every couple of days to drop off food, but when police got involved in November, the apartment contained no edible food in refrigerator and only ramen noodles in the cabinet.

Atura was charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child in December. He was freed on $500 bail.

Atura's older brother, Jerusalem Monday, left for Nigeria with his wife and three of their children in July, intending to return in August. They told police they were delayed by illness and passport problems.

The door at their apartment was ajar Thursday, but no one answered a knock; a telephone listed in Jerusalem Monday's name was not receiving calls. A neighbor, Christaly Garcia, said she didn't recall seeing the boys but noted they wouldn't necessarily stand out because there are a lot of kids in the well-kept apartment complex in New Hampshire's largest city.

The case came to light in November when officials at the boys' school told the state Division of Children, Youth and Families that the twins had been living on their own for months. The kids were getting themselves up and on the bus, then eating breakfast and lunch at school.

The boys were taken into protective custody and then placed into foster care.

The parents returned home as soon as they learned the boys were being left alone, assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Michael Valentine said.

The parents will not be charged.

Atura said he would stop by the apartment on days that he went to work. However, that did not happen everyday, according to a police affidavit.

The uncle told the boys to call him if they needed anything, but the affidavit said there was no operable phone in the apartment.

In an interview with police, one of the boys said "he felt lonely while staying at their own house because his mom and dad were not there and nobody was with them," according to the affidavit.

When police finally reached the parents, they said they had instructed Atura to stay at the apartment, and if he couldn't, they gave him the name of a family friend to contact. The parents said they stayed in phone contact with Atura, who assured them everything was fine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report