Local News

Soldier, wife charged with leaving children alone

Posted October 16, 2013
Updated December 22, 2016

Michael Walden and Jennifer Walden

EDITOR'S NOTE: All charges against the Michael and Jennifer Walden were dismissed and their criminal records expunged in August 2014.

A Fort Bragg soldier and his wife were charged Wednesday on child abuse charges after allegedly leaving their children alone while they celebrated their anniversary in New Orleans, authorities said.

Michael Walden, 46, and Jennifer Walden, 41, both of 2724 Bardolino Drive in Fayetteville, were also charged with contributing to a juvenile being neglected. They were released after posting $10,000 unsecured bonds.

Investigators determined that the couple left their 14-year-old son in charge of their 8-year-old daughter on Sept. 25. The children were responsible for caring for themselves, and neither had adult supervision while the parents were out of town, authorities said.

School officials contacted authorities after teachers were told a couple of days later that the Waldens weren't home with the children.


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  • goldenosprey Oct 18, 2013

    "If a time traveler from the 1950's visited they'd think we are all taking crazy pills.

    A 14 year old cant take care of themselves in a house stocked with food? The parents probably left them a wad of cash too." glarg

    I asked my folks, who were around in the 50s about this article. They concluded they were not the ones taking the crazy pills. Someone who thinks a 14 year can mind the kids with no adult supervision for 5 days on the other hand...

  • glarg Oct 18, 2013

    If a time traveler from the 1950's visited they'd think we are all taking crazy pills.

    A 14 year old cant take care of themselves in a house stocked with food? The parents probably left them a wad of cash too.

  • SaltlifeLady Oct 17, 2013

    NOt sure this constitutes abuse. Neglect may, stupidity for sure. But NC has no clear age that its ok or not ok to leave a child alone or for how long. If it was only the 14 year old they rpobably would have been in less trouble but to leave a 14 year old to care for a 8 year old, for five days without any supervision is a bit excessive. They should have been able to fine SOMEONE to help oversee the kids.

  • itsmyownopinion Oct 17, 2013

    We're not living in the good old days folks.

  • chicnrdu Oct 17, 2013

    The problem here is that people are confusing the line between dumb parenting and illegal. Just because you think it is wrong doesn't necessarily make it illegal. There is a difference.

  • bunchess Oct 17, 2013

    "We're talking about a 14-year old here, not a 10-year old.

    Heck, there are 12-year olds having babies nowadays, for crying out loud." -IWontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves

    I cannot wrap my head around why anyone thinks that this is ok?! Ages 14 & 10 are CHILDREN!!! Sure, I can see letting the 14 year-old babysit for a couple of hours...but FIVE DAYS??? Perhaps 12 year olds are getting pregnant now because they have no parental supervision. Just sayin'...

  • Combat MP Oct 17, 2013

    Most comments state when I was 14 I took care of siblings, 1 or 2 etc. You see no problem with the 14 year old looking after the 8 yr old. The 14 yr old can get help, call 911, etc. Question, what happens if the 14 yr old is the hurt or sick one? What is the 8 yr old going to do.
    NC Law is clear a 14 yr old can baby sit a younger sibling or a younger child... but not over night. The mom knew this, she stated it in a email, and also stated she had done this numerous times before.
    This isn't about the govt. getting in your business, its about common sense and this clearly shows the current mindset of many parents letting children raise themselves. They are not a pet you put out food and water for and leave a week . They are your children and your responsibility.

  • Trusting Oct 17, 2013

    I say let the kids go to Disney World for 5 days without their parents and put all the tab on the hotel bill the parents will have to pick up. Way to go 14 an 8 hope you 2 are still ok. Wackadoodles for parents.

  • illegalsgohomerevised Oct 17, 2013

    While I think it may have been okay for the 14 year old to look after themselves, I think it a bit much to also make the 14 year old responsible for an 8 year old.........if there were some adults who at least were calling locally or stopping by sometime to check up on them frequently. I might even have gone along with it if it only were for a day/night. Five days was just too long and too many things could have happened.

  • scubagirl2 Oct 16, 2013

    I thought 14 was ok to be alone....granted 5 days is a bit long