Grandmother accused of leaving toddler, 4-year-old to die in house fire without any attempt to help them escape

A Texas woman allegedly left two of her grandchildren to die in a duplex fire earlier this month and made no meaningful effort to help them escape, the Waco Tribune-Herald reports.

Now, 44-year-old Andrea Aleman is facing jail time.

Police on Thursday arrested Aleman, who has been charged with two counts of second-degree felony reckless injury to a child.

The arrest comes after a November 2 fire claimed the lives of two of her grandchildren, 4-year-old Anthony Cole Puente and 2-year-old Rachel Rose Aleman.

Exactly how the fire started is not entirely clear, but Aleman admitted to leaving the 4-year-old boy “awake and unsupervised in a room where there were multiple fire hazards,” Waco Detective Eric Trojanowski wrote in an affidavit obtained by the newspaper.

The home reportedly had no working smoke alarms, but they may not have been necessary in this case.

Aleman was allegedly woken by two young children but did not get up right away to see what the problem was. She instead remained in bed for several minutes, according to the affidavit.

“The defendant stated she eventually got up and saw a fire in the kitchen where affiant has learned there was a pile of clothes, trash and children toys,” the affidavit reportedly says. “Once the defendant left the bedroom, she left both victims behind and did not return to assist them or ensure they got out of the house.”

Both of the young children who died would have needed help exiting the residence. Aleman briefly called to the children from a nearby room and then went outside around 1:30 a.m. An 11-year-old child did manage to escape, according to the Waco Fire Department.

“Once she was outside and realized the children were not with her, the defendant made no effort to get the children out of the house, whether by actually physically getting them out or by beckoning to them at the doorway,” the affidavit reads. “She did not ask neighbors for help when they also fled the shared part of the duplex on fire.

“Defendant abandoned her grandchildren in a burning house and took no action to get them help until firefighters walked past her on the corner down from the house,” the affidavit continues.

Aleman had a duty to help the children and neglected this duty, authorities reportedly said. She put the children in a “substantial and unjustifiable risk which was of such a nature as to be a gross deviation from the standard of care from an ordinary person in likewise circumstances,” the affidavit reads.

Aleman was still in jail as of earlier this week.