ST. GEORGE – A 39-year-old woman was arrested on felony child abuse charges Monday after she allegedly abandoned her children who were found by police walking to find food late Sunday night.
Just before 11 p.m., while police were responding to a welfare check of three children in a Coronada Inn motel room at 559 E. St. George Boulevard, they spotted two young children walking to Taco Bell to get food, according to a probable cause statement filed by the St. George Police Department in support of the arrest.
“Both children were without a jacket or coat,” the arresting officer wrote in the statement. “It was stormy and late at night. It was past curfew” for a child of that age.
The officers asked the children if they could follow them home to make sure they were OK, the statement read, and the children agreed.
When they arrived at the motel room where the children were living, a 14-year-old child opened the door and allowed them inside, according to the probable cause statement. When the children were asked where their mother was, they said they didn’t know. When the officers asked if they had food, they said they did not.
Authorities contacted a relative of the children, who agreed to take the children.
The children’s mother, Kristen Anne Dennison, was located by police at approximately 2:30 a.m. Monday, driving on the St. George Boulevard with a suspended driver’s license. She was also found to have an active warrant for her arrest.
“Kristen’s speech was rapid and incoherent. When asked about her kids,” the officer wrote, “she could not remember their names or ages. She stated (she) could not remember when she had talked to them recently. She gave the wrong room when asked where the kids were staying.”
Dennison appeared to be under the influence of a stimulant, the statement read, and had a difficult time answering the officer’s questions and carrying on a conversation. She told police she had left the children to go to Mesquite, Nevada.
“When I explained the children were out late and in the cold,” the officer wrote, “there appeared to be no concern from Kristen about the children’s well-being.”
Dennison was arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
She was charged with three third-degree felonies for reckless child abuse and a class C misdemeanor for driving on a suspended driver’s license.
Dennison made her initial court appearance Monday afternoon in 5th District Court.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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