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Vanessa Lopez mugshot

Florida woman arrested after frequently leaving four kids, all under 7, home alone

Authorities alleged that a West Palm Beach, Florida, woman arrested after leaving four young children home alone also instructed them to lie on the floor and hide if anyone came to the door.

Vanessa Lopez, 23, supposedly left the children, ages 7, 6, 1, and 11 months, alone for an hour Tuesday afternoon while at a school meeting with a 4-year-old, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office records detailed. The Palm Beach Post reported the 7-year-old told investigators that Lopez would often leave her in charge of the younger kids.

Though the home had food, working electricity, and water, officials noticed a bed in the residence had no sheets and that a Wal-Mart bag was in a crib.

Though Florida doesn’t have a set age for when a child can be left unsupervised, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) “expects parents to take all of the circumstances into account” when determining to leave them home alone, the Post also pointed out.

Lopez is charged with four counts of child neglect. On Thursday, the 23-year-old was released from the Palm Beach County Jail on a $12,000 bond.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only child neglect story to make headlines this week.

As Crime Online reported, Chicago police found nine children living alone in a filthy, rundown Englewood home on Tuesday. The kids, ranging from toddlers to teens, lived in the residence which had no food, water, or heat. Despite this, the children were deemed healthy. Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) found the children belonged to two different mothers who also lived in the house.

[Feature Photo: Palm Beach County Jail]