Cops: Texas Mom Left Kids Alone for Weeks

Raven Yates allegedly left daughter, 12, and son, 3, and left for Alabama
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2023 6:01 AM CDT
Texas Mom All Smiles After Arrest for Alleged Neglect
Raven Yates, in a police photo after her arrest.   (Roman Forest Police Department)

The charges are disturbing enough that the case would likely have made headlines anyway. But the grinning face of the suspect upon her arrest—a mother charged with leaving her two kids to fend for themselves for several weeks—has generated a whole other level of attention. Police in Roman Forest, Texas, say 31-year-old Raven Yates abandoned her 12-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son on Sept. 8, reports Law and Crime. They were allegedly on their own for nearly two months, "much of the time without access to food or medical supplies," per a police statement. In November, their out-of-state father figured out they were on their own, in part because his daughter kept asking him to have food delivered.

This week, police tracked down Yates in Mobile, Alabama, where they say she was living with a male companion, reports People. "She was photographed in handcuffs with a full smile on her face and seemingly unbothered by the charges against her for allegedly putting her own children in danger," Roman Forest police chief Stephen Carlisle tells ABC13. "I don't know if she was playing a part or whatever it is, but she, I think, was playing for the camera. She wanted to have a smile. She wanted to look good. The arresting officer reportedly said she asked about putting lipstick on before the photo was taken."

Investigators say Yates told her daughter that if she told anyone they were alone, her father would take custody of her and her young brother would be left alone, per the ABC station. Another unusual part of the story: When police began publicly searching for Yates, they say she kept posting about the case on social media, which helped generate tips about her location in Alabama. (More child neglect stories.)

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