Cops: Kids Left Home Alone —for 4 Months

Parents say uncle was to watch them, he said all was fine
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 23, 2015 11:54 AM CST
Cops: Kids Left Home Alone —for 4 Months

Kevin McCallister thought he had it bad. Twin 9-year-old boys were left mostly alone in their New Hampshire apartment for four months after their parents took three siblings to Nigeria and left an uncle to care for them, authorities say. Manchester police say the uncle, 25-year-old Giobari Atura, told them he would stop by every couple of days to drop off food, but when police got involved in November, they found no edible food in the refrigerator and only ramen noodles in a cabinet. Atura was charged in December with one count of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. He was freed on $500 bail. Atura's older brother, Jerusalem Monday, left for Nigeria with his wife and three of their children in July, intending to return in August. They told police they were delayed by illness and passport problems.

The case came to light when officials at the boys' school told the state Division of Children, Youth, and Families that the twins had been living on their own. The boys were taken into protective custody and then placed into foster care, though they're now back with their parents. A Hillsborough County attorney said the parents returned home shortly after they learned the boys were being left alone. Because they left them in the care of a relative, he said, they won't be charged. In a police affidavit, Atura said he told the boys to call him if they needed anything. "It should be noted that no operable phone was located within the apartment," the affidavit says. The twins' parents said they had instructed Atura to stay at the apartment, and if he couldn't, they gave him the name of a family friend to contact. The parents said they stayed in phone contact with Atura, who assured them everything was fine. (More child endangerment stories.)

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