Police have arrested a Texas woman accused of the abandonment of her five children, including leaving them in alone in a home left in disarray and littered with feces and garbage.
According to police, Chrystal Walraven, 28, left for Houston and left behind five children in a home — including an infant who investigators initially thought was dead. In a crib near the front, investigators found a 15-month-old lying alone and covered in a blanket. It was only until the child was rubbed by an officer that the baby girl took a breath and was confirmed as being alive.
The 10-year-old boy who answered the door for the officers led them through the squalorous home which is said to have had a smell of fecal matter and garbage pervading the air. Upstairs, officers discovered several knives out in the open and in easy access of the children.
Then, officers were greeted by two female children — ages 3 and 6 — who emerged from a bedroom. Both girls appeared to have not been bathed for a while. In the bedroom, officers found a soiled diaper in the closet and several soiled diapers in the upstairs bathroom.
Child Protective Services were immediately contacted for assistance.
Investigators were able to contact a father of one or more of the children. He said that Walraven had asked him to babysit while she was gone. He says he said he couldn’t and that she left anyway.
When authorities finally contacted Walraven in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where police say she went to the beach and visited a male friend.
Walraven told authorities she’d gone there to seek an employment opportunity and because she needed to get away from things at home. According to police, Jeffrey Walraven, her current husband, had moved out weeks before and left to Arkansas.
After several delays to return to Austin, Walraven finally arrived and was stated to police that she knew she was responsible for the situation and that she should not have left the kids. According to Walraven, she was the only adult residing in the home at the time of the incident.
Authorities initially learned of the situation after the Gattis Elementary School principal reported concern for the children at the house around 2700 block of High Point Drive after one of them commented that he had had to stay up all night to change the infant’s diaper.
In an interview with KXAN, Walraven said that she had asked her neighbor and child’s father to help with the kids:
“He was supposed to be over here with the kids and he even told him that he was here the night before, um, you know, and that he got them food and everything. Mary was here during the day, she actually had to give them the carseats because she had been taking the kids back and forth to school, like everything. So no, definitely didn’t abandon them. They were supposed to be here with the children and did not do that.”