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Police: Raleigh mom left kids alone, didn't pick up son at bus stop

Posted August 24

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— A Raleigh woman who school officials say never picked up her kindergartner at a school bus stop Tuesday afternoon has been charged with child abuse after police found three other children left alone at home.

Sarai Flores Lechuga, 29, of 3236 Calumet Drive, was charged with four counts of misdemeanor child abuse. Police also served a failure to appear warrant on her in connection with a 2013 charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

According to arrest warrant, an 8-year-old girl and boys ages 3 and 1 were left unsupervised at home for more than six hours Tuesday. The fourth child abuse charge involves a 5-year-old boy who attends kindergarten at Durant Road Elementary School and wasn't picked up at his bus stop, police said.

Wake County Public Schools System administrators said they repeatedly called the home Tuesday evening to reach the parents of the kindergartner. Children kept answering the phone and hanging up, administrators said, which prompted bringing in the police.

Under school district policy, a bus driver cannot leave a child in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade at a bus stop if a parent or guardian isn't there. After calling a supervisor, a driver can take the child either back to school or to the bus office.

"What we like to do is make sure the parent is in the loop and they know where their child is and they're able to get their child," school district spokeswoman Lisa Luten said Wednesday. "When that's not the case, we could reach out to other folks to make sure that that child has the support and help that they need."

The driver and the 5-year-old ended up at the district’s bus garage Tuesday and remained there until about 7:30 p.m., when Raleigh police took custody of the boy.

"Our bus drivers care deeply about our children, and they want to make sure the children are safe," Luten said.

A District Court judge set a $5,000 bond for Flores and ordered that she have no contact with the children.

Police said the children have been placed in the care of family members and Child Protective Services.

15 Comments

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  • John White Aug 25, 9:20 a.m.
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    So you encourage people to just have children because the government will pay them to have kids and support them? You must be insane with that opinion. So maybe you should take all your EXTRA money you have to help pay for this woman. I don't know about you but I maintain a lifestyle I can afford to have. I just don't live my life expecting someone else to foot the bills. So according to you, the government should just support this person with no morals? Yes I said no morals that is because she has no husband it would appear yet has children from 1 to 8 years old.

  • Fred Garner Aug 25, 1:37 a.m.
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    Turned out as expected. Bad parent. Should some people be allowed to have children?OR be allowed to keep them? And if Illegal = deport!

  • Agnes Szanto Aug 24, 11:11 p.m.
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    How this country treats mothers is terrible. No payed maternity leave, no free childcare, and when a mother finally fails to juggle the impossible with 4 or 5 children, we criminalize her and put her to jail. To hire someone full time to take care of that many children costs a fortune, but when the mother fails to do it for free, we jail her, instead of helping her.

  • Patrick Murphy Aug 24, 10:57 p.m.
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    Sure, but how'd it work out for the children last time. Jail and fines just punish the children. Let's get smart here.

  • John White Aug 24, 8:12 p.m.
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    Wow! She does not even speak English either. I wonder why? If you move to a country should you not learn the language of the country you are living in??? Where is the father??? What is wrong with all these people that seem to have children but then there is no father around??? I guess the man is only around for the fun stuff and then does not want anything else to do with the results of the fun. A 1 year old and mom is out for 6 hours??? Just who feeds these poor children? The 8 year old? Way too much responsibility!

  • Sheila Rohrbach Aug 24, 7:02 p.m.
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    This is so sad for these children and I know there are MANY more situations out there that are the same and probably much worse. These little girls that are are children themselves having to take care of these younger siblings when their Mom is probably struggling to put food on the table, we have a huge issue in our own back yard. Hopefully this Mom will have some help and support and given the knowledge to not have anymore children to take care of . A one year old left with a child herself, thank goodness there have been no life threatening situations with any of them

  • Chris Grimes Aug 24, 7:00 p.m.
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    Why would you assume she's an immigrant, let alone an illegal one? Most people of Hispanic descent in the U.S. are native-born.
    http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-and-immigration-united-states

  • Morris Vobserv Aug 24, 6:33 p.m.
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    by the way this is non-violent illegal immigrant crime, right?

  • Morris Vobserv Aug 24, 6:25 p.m.
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    Come to US illegally..check.
    Have lotsa kids I can't pah for so I can stay here...check.
    Work a job illegally...check.
    Get gov't assistance...check.
    Neglect my parental duties i. any country...check.
    Get free lawyer after leaving my American kids home alone...check.
    Relax while my defenders call criticism racist...check. Please...help us Donald Trump...build the wall and deport illegals. We simply can't keep supporting this burden on our local society.

  • Allison Blanchard Aug 24, 5:45 p.m.
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    wow your blatant racism is really showing through this comment Jimbo.

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