Smithers woman charged with neglect after leaving children in motel room
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Police say a Smithers woman has been charged with neglect Tuesday morning after she left her four small children alone inside a Kanawha City motel room.
The children were malnourished and didn't have access to water, police said.
A Red Roof Inn employee called authorities at about 3 a.m. after Lisa Lewis reported that her sister, Aurelia Joanna Lewis, 25, left four small children unattended in room 209, according to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.
Charleston Police Officer M.Z. Blackledge met Lisa Lewis and they went together to the room. A small boy opened the door and said his mother was gone.
Blackledge then saw an 8-month-old boy lying on the floor face down in a pile of leftover pizza, the criminal complaint said. The young boy took very shallow breaths and did not appear to be alive when Blackledge checked on him, the criminal complaint said.
The boy barely opened his eyes when Blackledge picked him up and his diaper was sagging with waste, the criminal complaint said. He called paramedics.
Two small girls were also asleep on the bed. The room's temperature had been set to 85 degrees and the children were hungry and thirsty, the criminal complaint said. One of the girls tried to drink toilet water after paramedics and other officers arrived.
A short time later, Aurelia Lewis arrived at the hotel with her mom and her mom's boyfriend. She smelled strongly of alcohol, the criminal compliant said.
The woman told police she'd been gone for about 45 minutes and had asked her sister to watch the children.
Lisa Lewis, who was staying in a room on the first floor, said she hadn't been asked to watch the children because she has three children of her own.
Blackledge arrested Aurelia Lewis and charged her with four counts of child neglect. She is being held in South Central Regional Jail in lieu of a $100,000 bail.
Child Protective Services seized custody of the children when no on in the woman's family appeared in good enough condition to take them, the criminal complaint said.
Blackledge and three Charleston Police officers helped take care of the children before CPS workers arrived. Cpl. O. Smith bought snacks and water from the vending machine for the older children while Patrolwoman J. Redden drove to Kroger to buy baby formula. Blackledge changed the young boy's diaper before Patrolman Brian Lightner fed him formula.