Madison County

Two small children found outside at 2 a.m., one alone at home; Richmond mother cited

A Richmond woman was cited Monday on three counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, Richmond police said in a release.

Valarie J. Ward, 23, was cited after police discovered her three children alone at home during the early morning hours.

At about 2 a.m., officers were dispatched to a residence in Smith Village Apartments to investigate a report that two small children had been found outside in the snow. Upon arrival, officers met with the complainant/neighbor who reported finding the children outside and unattended.

The complainant took the children into her residence and called police. Officers ultimately determined that the children were ages 4 and 2. One was barefoot and had no pants on. The other was partially clothed. The temperature was about 21 degrees Fahrenheit at the time.

Officers determined where the children lived and went to the residence to further investigate the matter. Upon arrival, they found the rear door to the apartment open with small foot prints leading away from the residence. Upon receiving no response at the door, officers entered the residence and found another small child in a crib. There were no adults found in the residence.

The children were removed to the police station and social service representatives were contacted. The children were not injured as a result of the incident.

Officers determined that Ward was the resident and mother of the children and located a phone number for her. She was contacted and summoned to the police station. She was ultimately cited with endangering the welfare of a minor, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

The children were placed with an adult relative by social services, police said.