Police in Illinois have arrested a woman who they say abandoned five children in a hotel while she went on a three-day drug binge.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Friday that 33-year-old Crethia Southworth of East St. Louis was charged Friday with five counts of misdemeanor child endangerment.
Those charges came after police received a call Wednesday, reporting that four children had been abandoned at a Motel 6 in Caseyville.
“Somebody saw one of the daughters apparently trying to get pizza crusts from a trash can,” Caseyville Police Chief Frank Moore said.
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Officers who responded to the call found twin 1-year-old girls, a 9-year-old girl, and two teen girls, ages 13 and 14. While the teens and the 1-year-olds are reportedly Southworth's children, her connection to the 9-year-old girl is unclear, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Caseyville Police Sgt. Gerard Spratt told KSDK News he was the first officer to arrive on the scene and said he walked into a filthy hotel room.
“The kids didn't have diapers, they were walking around and going when they had to. That's all the clothes they own,” he said.
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The children reportedly told police they had no way of reaching their mom.
Detective Sgt. Scott Miller eventually tracked down Southworth.
"The mom told me she ran into a friend, they started drinking and led into drug use for two and a half days," Miller told KSDK.
He said the mom admitted to have been struggling with a drug problem for a while, and that she usually left her kids with her sister or a friend.
Miller said Southworth had arranged for a 17-year-old boyfriend to check on the children and bring them food but he had run out of money.
Spratt told KSDK that Southworth had paid in advance to have the hotel room for a week so housekeeping wasn’t checking on the room and staff at the hotel had no idea the children had been abandoned.
Police handed the children over to the Department of Children and Families, who subsequently placed the kids in the care of an aunt.
Southworth was last reported to still be in police custody, held on $10,000 bond.