By Kendall Downing
MARION, Ind. (Oct. 21,2014)-- A central Indiana mother is in jail, accused of leaving her three small children home alone. One of them is a 7-month-old baby girl.
Marion police tell FOX59 the incident began Saturday night and carried over to Sunday morning. Neighbors said they couldn't help but hear the child's cries. Police arrested Ranechia Ward, 22, early Sunday morning.
"We heard crying for a couple hours," said Danny Mullenix, a neighbor.
Police said it happened at an apartment unit located off Greentree Drive in Marion.
"It's very sad when you see something like this happen," said Cliff Sessoms, deputy chief with the Marion Police Department. "The officer hears the baby crying, he'd actually heard the baby crying when he walked into the apartment complex."
Sessoms said when officers got to the apartment, a 4-year-old boy answered the door. Police then found a 6-year-old boy asleep inside, along with a 7-month-old baby girl on the couch crying. Officers noted clothes and dishes were piled up, and they reported the apartment was dirty.
"One of the bedrooms, there (were) mattresses in there, but there (were) actually no sheets on the bed. They described it as being deplorable conditions," said Sessoms.
Sessoms said police also found drug paraphernalia and pills. Ward came back home while police were there, and she told officers she'd actually left the apartment around midnight.
"She said the baby was teething. She left the baby to go find some medicine, went to a friend's apartment in that same complex," said Sessoms. "According to her, her and the friend began talking, time got away from her. She didn't realize that she'd been gone that long."
Marion police arrested her and as of Tuesday afternoon, Ward remains in the Grant County Jail.
Child Protective Services released her children into a family member's custody.
"Anytime you leave children alone by (themselves) especially at this age, and especially a 7-month-old, that's a concern," said Sessoms.
Ward faces three preliminary counts of neglect of a dependent. Those are felony charges. Police also tacked on two drug-related misdemeanor charges.
FOX59 did attempt to talk to her at the Grant County Jail, but we were told the facility does not allow interviews.