Twin 9-year-olds left mostly alone for months in NH

23 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Man who was supposed to watch 9-year-old nephews abandoned them for months while parents were away in Africa: report.

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — Twin 9-year-old boys were left mostly alone in their U.S. apartment for four months after their parents took three siblings to Nigeria and left an uncle to care for them, authorities said Thursday. A New Hampshire man agreed to take care of his 9-year-old twin nephews while their parents were away in Africa — and then he went away himself, leaving the kids home alone for almost five months, according to authorities. The boys’ parents and three siblings left for Nigeria in July with the intention of returning the next month, but were delayed, the Associated Press reports. He stopped by every few days to check on them and drop off food, and said they should call if they needed anything, even though their apartment didn’t have a working phone.

Police finally became involved in November when the boys’ school alerted them that they’d been living alone, getting themselves up in the morning and taking the bus to eat breakfast and lunch at school. Neighbors in the family’s apartment building were shocked to learn about the alleged abandonment — but also impressed by the boys’ self-sufficiency. “When I was 9 years old, I couldn’t keep quiet for the life of me,” neighbor Keneth Lemite told the New Hampshire Union Leader. “I’m guessing they’re two pretty smart kids, pretty mature kids.”

A neighbor, Christaly Garcia, said she didn’t recall seeing the boys but noted they wouldn’t necessarily stand out because there are a lot of kids in the well-kept apartment complex. The twins were initially placed in foster care, but have now been returned to their parents, who came back to the U.S. shortly after learning of the situation. While Atura was charged with endangering the welfare of a child in December, the parents will not be charged since they left their sons in the care of a relative.

In an interview with police, one of the boys said “he felt lonely while staying at their own house because his mom and dad were not there and nobody was with them,” according to the affidavit. When police finally reached the parents, they said they had instructed Atura to stay at the apartment, and if he couldn’t, they gave him the name of a family friend to contact.

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