A mother in Princeton, Minnesota, returned home from work last week to find her two children, ages 2 and 3, alone in a crib and starving. The mother rushed her toddlers to the hospital where they were immediately put on IVs and treated for severe malnutrition and dehydration, according to the Star Tribune.
The mother, whose name has not been released, told authorities that she left her children in the care of their biological father, 32-year-old Michael S. Gunderson, for two months while she went to work in Utah. According to reports, the children were living in filth, surrounded by dog feces and urine. The criminal complaint against Gunderson states that the children “appeared to be trying to eat feces.”
Fairview Northland Medical Center, the hospital where the children were taken, notified Sherburne County authorities who then opened an investigation. According to the Sherriff’s Office, the house was “extremely filthy and littered with garbage and dog feces throughout.” Medical staff noted that the children “had sores on their bodies,” and were “diagnosed as being severely malnourished and subject to starvation,” as reported by the Star Tribune.
Gunderson said in an interview with authorities that he had no one to care for the children while he worked 12-hour shifts. He claims to have been at work when the mother found the children home alone. He admits that the children were not eating properly and had lost weight.
In addition to filth, garbage, dog feces and urine, a pound of marijuana was found during the search of the home.
Gunderson will possibly be charged with child endangerment, child neglect and three separate charges of fifth-degree controlled substance. He is in custody at the Sherburne County Jail, CBS reports.
As of Monday night, the children remain hospitalized.