Jersey City police say two teenagers, 16-year-old Aaliyah Glover and 17-year-old Njlaja Wyatt, stepped in when they found five of the woman's six children running naked in the street, dodging traffic.
The children, ages 2 to 14, had apparently been left home by themselves before they were found in the street around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Glover, who lives in an apartment underneath the one where the children live, told NJ.com she felt the need to step in after she saw one of the children nearly get hit by a car several times.
The teens took the children into Glover's residence, then broke into the upstairs apartment, where the found the youngest child. They called police before giving the children baths and feeding them.
"They didn't know how to eat with forks," Glover told The Jersey Journal.
The 14-year-old child is reportedly autistic and unable to care for her siblings. Aaliyah said the family moved to the apartment just two weeks ago. Police said they found no food or drinks in the upstairs apartment.
Witnesses say the mother returned to the building Wednesday at 4 a.m. and briefly visited the apartment before leaving. The children were removed by the state Division of Health and Human Services about five hours prior. They were placed in temporary foster care after being evaluated by a doctor.
Jersey City Police Lt. Edgar Martinez said 40-year-old Francine Davis turned herself in Wednesday. She faces child endangerment charges.