ROUND ROCK – A mother faces charges of child abandonment after leaving her five children alone at home for several days while she took a trip to Myrtle Beach, SC last summer.
An arrest affidavit identified the mother as Chrystal Nichole Walraven, age 28, and stated that she was arrested on February 11.
A warrant was not issued until February because police needed to conduct a thorough investigation to make sure enough evidence was gathered, according to Rick White, a Round Rock Police spokesperson.
The five children left alone at the home ranged in age from 15 months to 12 years.
Court documents said that the children told their principal at Gattis Elementary School that they were having to stay up all night to change their baby sister’s diapers. The principal then told police that they were concerned about the children’s’ living situation.
Once officers arrived at the house in the 2700 block of High Point Drive in late August 2018, a 10-year-old boy answered the door. Thats when police smelled an odor of feces and garbage, said the affidavit.
As officers entered the home, they saw a 15-month-old who appeared to be dead. Authorities said she was laying in a crib, not moving, with a blanket pulled over her mouth. Officers moved the blanket and rubbed the child and noticed that she was still breathing.
Following the discovery of the baby, police found a 12-year-old boy, and two girls, 6 and 3.
The affidavit stated that officers found a dirty diaper in a closet, stains on the carpet, flies in the kitchen, and multiple knives that the children had access to.
The mother was gone from August 26 until August 30 and one of the children’s fathers brought them food and visited them for a few hours on August 26 and 27, read the affidavit.
The document added that the neighbor told police she had brought the children dinner the night before but did not smell anything foul and wasn’t aware of what the situation was.
It was also said in the document that Walraven traveled to South Carolina “because she needed to get away from everything that was happening at home” and she was going to investigate a job opportunity.
Walraven was arrested by the Travis County Sheriff’s Office and charged with two counts of abandoning or endangering a child, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The Statesman reported that the children were initially placed into foster care but have since been moved to live with relatives.