HOUSTON – A 27-year-old single mother told investigators she was at work when an apartment manger found her three young children home alone.
Prosecutors said Carol Nelson had been evicted from the Villa Americana apartments in the 5900 block of Selinsky Road.
The apartment manager reportedly entered Nelson's unit to make sure she had vacated. The manager told investigators that the kids were by themselves in filthy conditions, and the youngest was in a soiled diaper.
Child Protective Services told KHOU that the 7-month-old, 8-year-old and 10-year-old are now with relatives.
Neighbors believe Nelson was doing the best she could.
"She works two or three jobs. She works all day, every day," said neighbor JT John. "The father's not helping her with day care or anything, and she has to get to work and take care of her kids and pay her rent and keep her lights on."
Residents at the complex said they only see Nelson either walking to and from the bus stop or taking her kids to the playground. Neighbors are convinced this was an isolated incident.
"They are never at home, but I guess this time, she didn't have anybody to watch them," said Stacey, a neighbor who didn't want to disclose her last name. "She's a good parent."
CPS said it doesn't have any previous cases involving Nelson's kids. According to a spokeswoman, Nelson will likely have a good chance at getting her kids back because it doesn't appear to be a pattern.
"We are all single moms trying to raise our kids. Nobody understands how hard it is for us to be a single mom," said suspect's friend Charde Wardsworth.
The apartment manager at the leasing office on Friday said she couldn't comment on the case.
Nelson faces child endangerment and abandonment charges. She is behind held on $2,000 bail in the Harris County Jail.