Mom arrested for leaving kids

Disappeared for four days, then two weeks
February 28, 2008 3:39:13 PM PST
A young mother on Long Island is under arrest Thursday, charged with leaving her young children for days. Police say she simply left her kids and didn't return.It happened in Baldwin. The woman is being held in Mineola.

Long Island reporter Emily Smith has more on the story.

Police say this woman has admitted to leaving the children without any sort of child care plan. Now, police say those kids are lucky that some adults stepped in and did the right thing.

Police say Cindy Roberts left her 3-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son without telling them where she was going or when she was coming back.

Neighbors say she did seem to need help with the kids lately.

"She's a grown up, but the way she thinks, she thinks like a kid," one neighbor said.

Nassau County police say Roberts' boyfriend happened to be at the house when she left, but he doesn't live there. Then, two friends stopping by the house wound up with both kids.

"I don't know the conversation between them, but the boyfriend, when he left, said she should be home shortly," Nassau Detective Lieutenant Kevin Smith said.

Roberts was then reported missing by her friends three days later. Police called Child Protective Services, who took the kids to the hospital and then home again. But Roberts didn't return for a fourth straight day.

"Protective Services does a follow up to find she still has not returned," Smith said. "There is no sign of the mother. They now take custody of the children and place them into foster care."

Police say Roberts finally came home that night to find a note left by CPS. She then went to police for the kids, but disappeared again for more than two weeks.

Neighbors say there didn't appear to be any sign of abuse or neglect. They say Roberts' arrest makes them stop and wonder what's going on behind closed doors.

"I don't really know what's going on inside her apartment," neighbor Wilza Israel said. "But I never saw her abusing the kids."

The kids remain in foster care. Police say Roberts still isn't saying where she went or why she left. She faces one year behind bars if convicted.