The mother of five young children left them alone in a filthy home for days while she went to a beach more than 1,200 miles away in South Carolina, Texas police say.
Round Rock, Texas, police say Chrystal Walraven was in Myrtle Beach, where she “went to the beach and visited a male friend,” when police discovered her kids alone in a home that smelled like feces and garbage, KXAN reported.
Court records show the 28-year-old said she went to South Carolina last summer in search of a job and “because she needed to get away with everything that was happening at home,” according to the Austin American-Statesman.
What Walraven left behind were two sons, ages 12 and 10 years old, and three daughters who are 6 and 3 years old along with a 15-month-old baby, the newspaper reported.
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Police visited the home after being notified by an elementary school principal, who said the children complained “about having to stay up all night to change their sibling’s diapers,” per KTBC.
When they searched the house, investigators thought the baby was dead because they found her covered by a blanket in a crib, and did not breathe until she was rubbed by one of the responding officers, according to KXAN.
According to court records, the house was a mess, “with stained carpets, scattered dirty diapers, and accessible knives,” KTBC reported.
The kids were removed from the home and, after being placed in foster care they are now living with relatives, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Police said even after they contacted Walraven, her return from South Carolina was delayed more than once, but she took responsibility for leaving her kids, saying it was something she should not have done, per KXAN. Still, Walraven said she asked a neighbor in addition to the father of one of the children to help watch them.
“No, definitely didn’t abandon them,” Walraven said, the TV station reported. “They were supposed to be here with the children and did not do that.”
They were not arrested, but Walraven was charged with two counts of second-degree abandoning or endangering a child, imminent danger bodily injury, according to the Williamson County Jail inmate database. Jail records show the 28-year-old was released after her bond was set at a combined $30,000 on the charges.
While Walraven returned to Texas on Aug. 30, 2018, she was not arrested until Feb. 11 because police said they “needed to conduct a thorough investigation,” the Austin American-Statesman reported.
If convicted, Walraven could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each charge, per KTBC.