A Texas mother has been charged with child abandonment for leaving her five children at home alone for several days while she traveled to South Carolina last summer, according to an arrest affidavit released Tuesday.
Chrystal Nichole Walraven, 28, of Round Rock, was arrested Feb. 11 on two counts of abandoning or endangering a child, which is a second-degree felony, according to a report.
The children ranged in age from 15 months to 12 years, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Walraven traveled to Myrtle Beach to investigate a job opportunity and "because she needed to get away from everything that was happening at home," the paper reported, citing an affidavit.
She had also gone to the beach and visited tourist locations while staying with a male friend, according to the affidavit.
Round Rock Police told Fox 7 Austin they visited Walraven's home in late August after the Gattis Elementary School principal expressed concern about a student's living situation.
Walraven's children complained to the principal about having to stay up all night to change their younger sibling's diapers, the station reported, citing court documents.
Police, after visiting the home, reported that it smelled like garbage and feces, Fox 7 reported.
The officers said there was an infant in a crib near the front door, with four other children found home alone, according to the station.
Officers also found a dirty diaper in a closet, stains on the carpet, flies in the kitchen and multiple knives that the children could access, the American-Statesmen reported, citing an affidavit.
Officers called Child Protective Services, Fox 7 reported. The children were initially placed in foster care, but are now living with relatives, Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, told the American-Statesmen.
If convicted, Walraven faces 2-20 years in prison, according to Fox 7.