Court appearance for mom accused of leaving kids alone, digging through trash

Mother facing child endangerment charges

By Amanda Perez , Courtney Gilmore - Anchor/Reporter , Mary Cuervo

HOUSTON - A Houston mom accused of leaving her three small children alone, who were found barefoot and hungry digging through a trash can outside for food, faced a judge on Wednesday.

Children's Protective Services says those children are ages 3, 2, and 1. According to investigators, a neighbor called police after the children were found hungry and barefoot at an east Houston apartment complex. We learned this wasn't the first time the woman has been reported to CPS.

Kimberly Rodriguez, 22, appeared before a Harris County judge on Wednesday, five days after her three young children were found digging through the trash at the Falls of Brichbrook apartment complex on Flemming Drive near Maxey Road.

"We fed them, put clothes on them because they were outside, practically naked. It was cold, it was kinda rainy," the neighbor said. "I decided to call the cops."

Prosecutors say the children were so hungry, they were trying to eat banana peels.

Sadly, a spokesperson for CPS says it wasn't the first time the children had been left home alone. Estella Olguin says the father of the youngest two children was charged last year over similar allegations, and CPS caseworkers had been trying to locate Rodriguez after they got a tip in September.

"We received a report -- the same circumstances -- the children are home alone, the mom is not supervising them. It was at a different address; we've been looking for them for two months now," said Olguin.

Rodriguez is now charged with child endangerment and the three children are now in CPS custody. During Wednesday's court hearing, authorities said an immigration hold has been placed on Rodriguez while ICE looks into her status.

A fourth child, who's 4 years old, is with her biological father. The dad of the 4-year-old is not the father of the other children.

A neighbor told Local 2 it wasn't the first time they'd seen the children all alone outside of the apartment. In the past, they'd take them back to her apartment, but on Friday she wasn't there and the neighbor said that was the final straw.

The neighbor looked for Rodriguez, but ended up calling police when she could not be located. Officers found Rodriguez working at a bar that doubles as a flea market. Her bond is set at $35,000.

The CPS spokesperson says an emergency custody hearing has been scheduled for December 4. For now, those three children are all together in the same foster home.

According to CPS, children left home alone is the most common form of abuse.

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