Belmont County

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Kids found alone, mom charged with neglect

Updated: Monday, November 4 2013, 04:46 PM EST

By: NEWS9 and Jon Rudder

Police said a mother is in jail after she left her young children alone in an apartment with drug paraphernalia and knives that were easily accessible.

Heather Renee Schaffer, 26, is charged with two counts of child neglect with risk of serious injury.

Police were called to an apartment complex in the north end of Wheeling around 3 a.m. Monday after receiving a 911 call about children that had been left alone in an apartment. When officers arrived, they found two children alone.

Deputy Chief Martin Kimball, of the Wheeling Police Department, said, "Inside, we found two very young children. We believe one to be 4 years old and the other to be 2 years old. The 2-year-old was still in dirty diapers and needed (to be) changed."

Schaffer could not be located, and police were eventually able to contact the children's grandparents, who were able to take the children.

"The mother finally showed up several hours later and didn't seem to be too concerned about her children. Neighbors report that this happens very often," Kimball said.

Police said that inside the apartment, they found more dangers to the children.

"While searching the apartment, there was (a) baby wipes container that was found to have a lot of drug paraphernalia. It was right there next child's beds," Kimball said, adding that several knives were also found that were "easily accessible by the children."

Police said Schaffer gave them several stories, none of which added up. They are continuing to investigate where she was.

"The children had apparently been recovering from some form of minor diseases which are typically attributed to unhealthy living conditions," Kimball said.

Schaffer is being held at the Northern Regional Jail. It was not clear if more charges will be filed, but Kimball said officers are continuing to investigate the incident. He said Child Protective Services is involved and will continue to follow up on the case.

Stay with NEWS9 and for continuing coverage.

Kids found alone, mom charged with neglect

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