KOKOMO, Ind. (WXIN) – An Indiana woman left four young children home alone while she went on a shopping trip about an hour away, according to an incident report by Kokomo police.
Courtny Prater, 25, has been charged with neglect. The report states the children were ages 1, 4, 5 and 8.
Police were called to a trailer home in Kokomo on Aug. 2 for a child welfare check. When they arrived, they met another woman who told them she was the mother of two of the children.
The woman said her father, who lived nearby, went to check on the children earlier and was greeted at the door by the 8-year-old. The 8-year-old told the man that his mother and father were in Indianapolis and that the kids were home alone, according to court documents.
The distance between Indianapolis and Kokomo is about one hour.
Police say when they knocked on the door, they could hear “two large dogs barking and hitting the door.” When they went to check the windows, the dogs were reportedly so aggressive that one of them hit the window and caused the window frame to move.
The woman who had greeted police contacted the suspect — later identified as Prater, who is also the mother of the other children — and told her that police wanted her at the home right away, documents said.
When Prater arrived, she reportedly admitted she had been shopping in Indianapolis and pointed to two other people in the car and said they were supposed to be watching the kids, documents said.
After the dogs were secured, police went inside the home, which they say had trash on the floor and smelled of dog urine.
The incident report says the mother of the other two children asked for her children back at this point, and police say they granted her request immediately.
Prater told police that another man who lived at the trailer “off and on” was supposed to check on the kids throughout the day while she was in Indianapolis.
After determining the 8-year-old did not “appear qualified” to care for the other children, Kokomo police requested an arrest warrant be issued for Prater on four counts of neglect, but she was only charged with two counts.
Police also contacted the Department of Child Services.