A 28-year-old mother-of-five was arrested after police said they found she left her children at home in Texas in the summer of 2018 while she traveled to South Carolina to go to the beach.
Chrystal Nichole Walraven was charged with two counts of abandoning or endangering a child, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Austin American-Statesman.
Walraven’s children were placed in foster care after the arrest on Feb. 11 but are now living with relatives.
Investigators said Walraven left home in August 2018. They were called by the principal of Gattis Elementary School, who conveyed that some of Walraven’s children had talked about staying up all night to change the diaper of their baby sister, then-15 months old.
A police officer went to the house to conduct a welfare check and a 10-year-old boy answered. While the boy said everything was fine, the officer smelled feces and garbage and entered the house. He spotted the toddler, who appeared to be dead, but was actually alive.
Along with the boy and little girl, officers found a 12-year-old boy and two other girls, ages 6 and 3.
The house was extremely dirty, with flies in the kitchen. Officers noted that there were sharp knives in the kitchen that the children had access to.
When a teacher called a man listed as one of the parents of the children, the father told the teacher that a neighbor was watching the children while Walraven was in South Carolina, according to the affidavit. Police spoke to a neighbor, who said she’d made the children dinner the night before but thought they were being taken care of by one of their fathers.
Police said a #RoundRock woman left her children home alone for several days while she traveled to #SouthCarolina. 28-year-old Chrystal Walraven has been charged with child abandonment. https://t.co/NvSjUol75D pic.twitter.com/XyncxTxCyz
— FOX 7 Austin (@fox7austin) March 9, 2019
When Walraven returned to the area several days later, she went to the police department and told officers she’d gone to Myrtle Beach to look for a job and “because she needed to get away with everything that was happening at home.”
She said she stayed in touch with her children through Facebook messenger.
Investigators spent months probing the case and issued a warrant for Walraven’s arrest in early February, reported Fox 7. She’s currently out on bond awaiting trial.
The abandoning or endangering counts carry a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison each.
The man's children appeared to have "limited contact" with the outside world and did not know their own names, police say.
Four Children Found Abandoned in Filthy Home
A Texas father is facing criminal charges after four young children were discovered in his filthy home, and officials described the home as filthy and not fit for living.
Robert Preston, 31, was arrested on child endangerment charges on Feb. 24 after his four children were discovered in his Dallas apartment, WFAA reported.
When police arrived, they found a starving puppy in the closet.
According to the Dallas Morning News, “The children reacted to the dog as if they had never seen it before, screaming, and running around,” said police.
The children inside the Dallas apartment called each other "'Robert,' because the did not know their own names,'" the affidavit said.
A police affidavit said the sink water smelled “like a dead animal,” and it said that toilets appeared to have not been flushed in weeks, WFAA reported.
The apartment was also not furnished and reeked of excrement. It’s not clear what the children used as a table, the reports said.
The floor was also riddled with alcohol bottles, WFAA reported.
Preston’s children are aged 5 and 2. He also has two 3-year-old twins.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the children appeared to have “limited contact” with the outside world and didn’t know their own names.