Mom who left young children home alone speaks out

IZARD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) – The Izard County woman who left her four children at her apartment unattended said she did not intentionally leave her children at home alone.

According to the sheriff's report, Izard County 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.

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

"It was my word against what he saw, and it was four babies, pretty much, still in their nightgowns alone, and I would've arrested the mom too," she said.

Donaldson wants to go to school to become a juvenile probation officer. She said she wants to set the record straight about what happened Saturday, April 14.

"My kids were still asleep. I woke my 10-year-old up and gave her her cell phone, and told her if there's any problems with the new babysitter to let me know."

Donaldson said the new babysitter she hired was supposed to arrive at her apartment in time for her to get to work by 9 a.m. "I saw a car pull up and a little blonde girl, and I assumed it was my babysitter, and I waved at her."

Donaldson made the decision to leave without watching the sitter walk in the door. "I, as a parent should have stuck around, walked her in my house, and introduced her."

Donaldson said between 11 and 11:30 a.m. officers called Donaldson back to her home. "He said, 'I just want to know why there's four children unattended,' and I said, 'Where's their babysitter? and he goes, "There is no babysitter.'"

Steve Ethridge, the father of the 8 and 10-year-olds, said he was the one who asked the police to check on the children after talking to his 10-year-old.

Ethridge told Region 8 News over the phone "My daughter texted me at 8 o'clock in the morning, and told me that she was home alone watching her brothers and sister. She said her mom didn't have plans for a babysitter coming over."

Donaldson maintains she scheduled a babysitter, and wants to move forward. "That's all I care about is that I got my kids back."

Donaldson appeared in court Thursday morning.  The Izard County Prosecuting Attorney said he will not pursue charges against her.  The children are back in Donaldson's custody.

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