NJ mom arrested for leaving kids home alone

July 9, 2010 2:50:16 PM PDT
A NJ woman was arrested for leaving her 4-year-old and 11-month-old children home alone.

"She's a good mother," said Elaine Carter, the mother's neighbor.

Elaine Carter told Eyewitness News that she was watching her neighbor's 8-year-old son last night, but had no idea that the woman's 4-year-old son and 11-month-old baby girl were left behind in the apartment.

They were left there all alone until early Friday morning, when the 4-year-old wandered out to the street on Clinton Avenue in Irvington, to find someone who could help.

"He was attempting to flag down vehicles to bring attention to the fact that his mother had left," said Chief Michael Chase of the Irvington Police Department.

The 11-month-old girl was left in a bed inside the apartment.

The detective handling the case also told Eyewitness News how the mother, 33-year-old Mirlene Melendez, explained her actions.

"She explained that she was really trying to go to work, so I think she made a bad decision, and I think that's very unfortunate," said Det. Lt. Tracy Bowers of the Irvington Police Department.

"She had to go to work, that's her first day at work," Carter said.

Police say everyone was lucky that the young boy was so well-spoken.

"In fact, at one point, he was able to show the officer where his mother's car was before she left" Chase said.

Police were able to get to the young boy before anyone else could.

"Absolutely, I would not recommend that a 4-year-old child be out at 5:18 in the morning, trying to flag down, who knows who," Chase said.