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Charges filed after half-naked children allegedly seen wandering St. James

Watonwan County Courthouse, St. James

A woman is facing neglect charges after her young children were allegedly seen wandering around St. James.

Erika Sandy Hernandez Tomas, 21, of St. James, was charged with gross misdemeanor child neglect/endangerment in Watonwan County Court Tuesday.

Court documents say St. James police received a complaint on July 7 that two children, approximately ages 3 or 4, were wandering around wearing no pants.  Several hours later, police received a second call stating that the children were seen walking near City Hall.

A city employee was able to get the children and locate their apartment, according to the criminal complaint, but found the door open and no adult home.

Police arrived at the residence to find the girls with no pants or underwear on, playing with dolls.  The officer also noted leftover and spilled food, along with a cell phone.  The children were taken into protective custody.

Hernandez Tomas allegedly told police she had left earlier that day with her baby for a doctor’s appointment, but the children’s father was caring for them.  Police say he is known to be deported, but Hernandez Tomas claimed he was back in the country.

Hernandez Tomas also claimed she paid $200 a week for daycare for the two older children, but the provider she named said she has never watched the older kids and had not seen the baby in a month, according to the complaint.

The complaint says Hernandz Tomas later admitted the father of the children was not back in the country and she had left the two girls alone in the apartment.


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