9-Year-Old Twin Boys Left Home Alone for Months While Parents Travel

One of the great debates I hear among parents is: what is the right age to leave your children alone at home? I'm not even sure you could argue that 9 is that magic age, but even if you did, few of us have this in mind. A mother and father from New Hampshire reportedly left their 9-year-old twin boys alone for four months while they traveled abroad to Nigeria. They say they asked an uncle to take care of them, but what police found when they searched their apartment pretty much proves the opposite happened.

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Jerusalem Monday and his wife reportedly left for Nigeria with three of their children in July and planned to fly home in August, but told police issues with illness and their passports delayed their return. In the meantime, they say, they assumed Monday's brother, 25-year-old Giobari Atura, was taking care of the twins.

On the contrary, here's what police discovered when school officials told the Division of Children, Youth, and Families in November that the boys were on their own: their apartment door was ajar, there was no working phone in their home, and the worst part: there was no food in the fridge and just ramen noodles in a cabinet.

And though some of us probably assume the boys would be overjoyed to be on their own, we forget they are still so little and their emotional needs are as important as their physical needs. When an officer interviewed one of the boys, he reportedly told him he "felt lonely" while staying at their own house because nobody was there with them.

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Atura reportedly told police he would stop by their home every few days to drop off food. Even if this is true—and, again, what police found indicates there wasn't food in the house—he wasn't reportedly living up to his brother's expectations. Monday claims he told Atura to stay with the boys at the apartment and that, if he couldn't, to contact a family friend whose number and name they left with him.

Atura has been arrested and charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child. He is free on $500 bail.

The parents in this case have not been charged with a crime because police say they didn't know their boys weren't being cared for while they were away. The twins have been returned to them after being placed in child protective custody.

Do you think the uncle should have been charged in this case? Do you feel it's fair not to charge the parents?

 

Image via Wetsun/Flickr

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