Firefighters rescue four children from basement after their mother 'locked them inside for 15 HOURS without food as punishment'

  • Single mother from Philadelphia is facing four counts of endangering welfare of a child
  • Firefighters rescued a boy and three girls, ages 9 to 13, from basement in Kensington section Sunday
  • Police say the children were without access to food or bathroom for about 15 hours 
  • Family friend said the mother locked her kids after one of them stole money 

Four children were rescued from their Philadelphia home Sunday after police say their mother locked them in the basement for 15 hours without food as punishment for bad behavior.

The woman, a single mother who reportedly works at the Philadelphia International Airport, is now facing four counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Firefighters rescued the woman's three daughters and a son, ages 9 to 13, at around 1.30pm Sunday after one of the children used an emergency-only cellphone to call 911.

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Rescue: Firefighters in Philadelphia rescued Sunday four children from the basement of a two-story home (second right) on East Atlantic Street 

Rescue: Firefighters in Philadelphia rescued Sunday four children from the basement of a two-story home (second right) on East Atlantic Street 

Harsh punishment: Police say their mother of the three girls an a boy locked them in this basement for 15 hours without access to food or bathroom 

Harsh punishment: Police say their mother of the three girls an a boy locked them in this basement for 15 hours without access to food or bathroom 

Firefighters broke through this second-floor window to enter the locked home and extract the hungry kids

Firefighters broke through this second-floor window to enter the locked home and extract the hungry kids

First responders had to break through a second-floor window to enter the locked home in the 1900 block of East Atlantic Street in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.

All four children were taken to St Christopher’s Hospital for Children for evaluation and were found to be in good condition.

Neighbors were stunned to learn of the allegations against the mother of four, whom they described as a hard-working airport employee and nursing student.

Block captain Victoria Sipes said her neighbor's children attend school regularly and are often seen playing outside with other kids.

‘It doesn't seem like her,’ Sipes told the station 6ABC. ‘I know that she's been going through a lot lately, but this is not something it would seem like she would do.’

Police spokeswoman Tanya Little said the mother deliberately locked her children in the basement at around 11pm Saturday, and they spent the next 15 hours without access to food or bathroom.

A friend of one of the children, a 12-year-old girl, said she saw her arguing with her mother Saturday afternoon

A friend of one of the children, a 12-year-old girl, said she saw her arguing with her mother Saturday afternoon

A family friend told NBC10 the mother locked her kids in the basement because one of them stole money.

Aphrodite Sanchez, a friend of the woman's 12-year-old daughter, said she saw the girl arguing outside with her mother Saturday afternoon.

Following the rescue Sunday, the mother was taken in for questioning. Her children will be either placed with other relatives, or released into the custody of the Department of Human Services.

 

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