MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami mother has been charged again with leaving her children home alone and this time police say it could have been tragic.
Miami Police said it was the second time in the past 18 months that the mother, 24-year-old Naquisha Thomas, has been arrested for child neglect.
Anthony Taylor, a grandfather of one of the children, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “I’m very upset about this. This scares me. My daughter-in-law told me she thought she was leaving the children with someone who was responsible.”
Police say her one-year-old daughter and a five-year-old friend were spotted by workers for the Department of Children and Families outside the mother’s home on busy Northwest 46th Street at Northwest 18th Avenue.
“Luckily nothing happened today but this could have easily turned tragic,” said Miami Police spokesman, Officer Rene Pimentel. “Just imagine what could have happened to them. Our main concern is the children’s safety.”
Pimentel told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that the mother of the one-year-old girl was supposed to be taking care of her daughter and the 5-year-old.
One neighbor, who identified herself only as “Maria,” gave D’Oench some disturbing and startling information.
“I’ve seen the two little kids when they were just four and five going out to a store by themselves. And there’s no store close by. So this is scary. To think they are out in a neighborhood that can be dangerous and walking around. This is horrible. Anything could have happened to these children. People need to be more careful with their children.”
“Today the two children ran outside in the street after the dogs,” said Maria. “They ran into the street and she tried to get them.”
Those two dogs are dachshund mixes that were taken away by Miami-Dade Animal Services.
The two children and the mother’s 5-year-old and 6-year-old sons, who were in school, were all taken into DCF custody, said Pimentel.
There will be a temporary shelter or custody hearing for them at 1:30 on Thursday afternoon at the Miami-Dade Juvenile Justice Center.
DCF workers also discovered a filthy house with deplorable conditions, said Pimentel. A CBS4 crew discovered garbage strewn around the house and two containers with chemicals inside them.
“DCF tells us the house was in deplorable condition,” said Pimentel. “I didn’t get a chance to go inside but I understand it was pretty bad inside.”
“They shouldn’t leave children home alone,” said Jackie Hepburn, a neighbor. “It’s not good.”
Erica Lee, another neighbor who knows the family, told D’Oench, “This has happened before. Just last year there was big chaos here.I was surprised this is going on again. I have eight children and I would never leave my kids home alone. That is a no no.”
Lee was referring to the arrest of Thomas and her boyfriend, Anthony Taylor, who is the father of the one year old girl, on January 21st of last year.
They were both charged with two counts of child neglect after they told Police they had gone out to a store. They said they had just given Thomas’s two children a bath and did not want to take them out. A neighbor told police the children were home alone for two to three hours.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office dropped charges in that case, records show.
“Last year, they went out to some hardware store. But it took a pretty long time for them to get back,” said the grandfather Anthony Taylor.
“Yeah I’m very much concerned,” he said. “I didn’t expect this to happen again. I know that after the last time, I expected for everything to be under control.”
This time, Taylor’s son Anthony was not charged because he was not at home.
“My son is a very good kid,” said Taylor. “He is a hard working young man. He does everything from construction to the barbecue business. I just hope we can sort this out.”