Authorities in Illinois say they recovered three young children, all under the age of 7, from a north side Chicago apartment where they were found alone Saturday evening.
According to WLS, officers were dispatched to the residence in the 5000 block of North Harding Avenue in response to a welfare check request by a concerned citizen.
After arriving at the apartment building at approximately 6 p.m. Saturday, police say they found the children, ages 3, 5 and 7, alone and living in disgusting conditions.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, the residence did not have working electricity. When police recovered the children, they found the home covered in mold and littered with rodent waste and rotted food.
Police confirmed on Sunday morning that the children’s mother was arrested. Maria Cortez, 31, is expected to face criminal charges including three counts of misdemeanor child endangerment.
She was reportedly released on her own recognizance and is set to appear in court again in July.
In addition to the arrest, reports indicate the Department of Children and Family Services is investigating the incident.
Her alleged behavior was enough to concern many in the community, including neighbor Luisa Johnston, who told local reporters it was “sad” to see a mother putting the safety of her young children at risk in that way.
“No one was home and they were left alone,” she said. “That’s sad and that’s dangerous because they’re babies.”
All of the minors appeared to be physically safe following a medical evaluation. Emergency personnel reportedly transported them from the scene to the nearby Swedish Hospital for an examination.
[Featured image: WLS/video screenshot]