An Arkansas woman was arrested on child endangerment and drug charges after a postal worker found her two small children alone and in very poor condition.
Judy Arnold Alexander was delivering mail in Ash Flat, Arkansas, on May 13 when she found the girls in the middle of the road. The older girl, who is 4, was wearing an old soiled nightgown while the younger one, who is 2, was naked and covered in feces, KAIT reports.
After guiding the children out of the road, Alexander said she began looking around for a guardian and found their mother passed out in a chair with two smoking pipes on a table beside her. Alexander immediately called the police.
Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts responded to the call, along with several deputies.
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"The postal worker stopped when she saw two small children playing in the road, and I am glad she did come along," Counts said.
He confirmed that both children were in a terrible state.
"The girls appeared not to have had a bath in several days and appeared to be covered in what looked like feces," he explained. "We used some baby wipes to clean them up before [the Department of Human Services] could get there."
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Counts called DHS after waking the girls' mother.
When confronted by the police, Heather Shelton, 29, told Detective Aaron Presser that she had "hit the pipe" several times that morning, according to Areawide Media. She also said she had a baby in the house.
Presser said there was "a stench in the air of decay from trash inside the home. The house was in a state of disarray with items strewn about and chocolate syrup poured all over the floor in such a way that you could not walk without stepping in it all through the kitchen, dining room and down the hall toward the bedroom."
The baby's living conditions were equally troubling.
"The little baby boy's crib had a used diaper in there that appeared to [have been] there for a while, maybe up to a week. It was just a bad situation," Sheriff Counts said.
DHS obtained a warrant to search the house, uncovering two bags of marijuana, two pipes and eight open bottles of nail polish, according to KAIT.
"When DHS showed up, the kids didn’t want anything to do with [their mother]," Counts said. "I think they have been having to fend for themselves for a while. I know when they took the kids off, the mom didn’t show much emotion at all."
He added: "The mom is more worried about getting high than taking care of her very beautiful children, and it is just sad."
Shelton was charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count of possession of an instrument to commit a crime.