VALPARAISO | A 31-year-old Valparaiso woman faces felony counts of neglect of a dependent and residential entry after reporting her children missing after confusing a neighbor's home as her own, police said.
The two young children, who had not been fed dinner the night before and were not provided with beds, were found sleeping on the floor of the family's nearby home, police said.
Authorities said Charity Atkinson, of 2152 St. Joseph Lane, called police shortly before 9 a.m. Dec. 21 reporting her 5-year-old and 3-year-old children missing.
Police said Atkinson, who showed signs of intoxication, was exiting a neighbor's residence when officers arrived and then led them back to the wrong address.
Officers found Atkinson's keys and led her to her nearby home, where they found the children sleeping on the floor of the bedroom. The older child told officers he and his sibling had been unable to find their mother when they woke up that morning.
Atkinson said she had left the residence to buy cigarettes, yet officers said there was no evidence that the purchase was made and a half-pack of cigarettes was found on a table in the home.
Atkinson also was charged with a misdemeanor count of resisting law enforcement.
Pleas of not guilty were entered Friday on Atkinson's behalf during an initial hearing before Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper.
A trial was set for April 28, with preliminary hearings Feb. 11 and March 18.
Atkinson, who remained behind bars on a $1,000 cash bond, was awarded the services of a public defender.