Mom arrested for leaving children ages 4-10 at home alone

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Izard County sheriff's deputies arrested a Melbourne woman after she left four children at her apartment unattended.

According to the sheriff's report, deputies found four children, ages 4, 6, 8 and 10, in the apartment.

Deputies arrested 27-year-old Alicia M. Donaldson on four counts of endangering the welfare of a minor.

Ruby Lopez has a list of rules for her children when she leaves them at home alone. "Not to open the door for anybody, not to touch anything in the kitchen. If they want to eat anything, make it in the microwave."

Lopez's children are 18, 14, 11 and 7. She said she would never leave the two younger children at home without a parent. "I get paranoid with what could happen within a matter of a second. You just don't know. The house could catch on fire, just anything, and small children like that they're not going to know what to do," she said.

Deputies said during a welfare check at the house where Donaldson left the children, the 10-year-old told them the woman often leaves them at home alone.

Bryan Kieffer, the father of 8 and 5-year-olds, said his two boys will not be ready for staying at home without their parents any time soon. "It's probably going to be well into their teen years before we decide to let them hang out at the house by themselves."

Both parents agree their young children will get more responsibility at some point, but not right now.

"His older brother would probably be able to watch them as long as they are together. That'd be okay, but allow by themselves, I would probably shy away from that, and again, it will be well after his older brother is well into his teen years," Kieffer said.

"Depending on the maturity of the child, but still I wouldn't leave them at home with any other small children," said Lopez.

The children were placed in the care of the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

Endangering the welfare of a minor in Arkansas ranges from a third degree Class B misdemeanor to a first degree Class D felony.

The National Safe Kids organization recommends not allowing children under the age of 12 to stay at home alone.

Donaldson's court date is not known.

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