South Florida woman left children home alone for weeks, deputies say

Maria Perez, 32, faces 3 counts of child neglect

Maria Perez, 32, was arrested on charges of child neglect after leaving three children home alone for weeks, deputies say.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A South Florida woman is facing child neglect charges after apparently leaving three children home alone for weeks, deputies said.

Maria Perez, 32, was arrested by Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputies earlier this month.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Perez's roommate called deputies to check on the children after he hadn't seen her in three weeks.

"He said she leaves her (redacted) alone in the residence often," according to the report. "He said the last time he saw them, they did not look well."

A deputy conducting a welfare check on the children found them huddled together in the corner of a back bedroom that they share.

"There was no furniture in the room," the affidavit said. "The small child appeared to be asleep in the corner. The (redacted) appeared to be dressed for school, but it was already 11:15 a.m."

Two of the children said they hadn't seen Perez in two weeks. The oldest child said he saw her the previous evening when she met him at the carport and gave him McDonald's meals to bring to the others.

A social worker told deputies the children had been absent from school the previous three days and were late the three days before that. He said they had missed 15 days so far this school year.

When the deputy contacted Perez by telephone, she said she couldn't go home because she was at work. Her roommate told the deputy that Perez doesn't have a job.

Perez eventually returned to the home but "appeared disheveled," the affidavit said. 

She told the deputy that the children were late for school because one of them had broken his arm three months ago and she had a doctor's note. 

Perez initially said she was planning to take them to get breakfast, but when the deputy asked her how she was going to do that while she was at work, she said she was going to bring it to them after, the affidavit said.

"I reminded her it was almost noon and she shrugged," the deputy wrote in the report.

Perez was arrested Nov. 8 on three counts of child neglect without causing great bodily harm. She was released from jail the next day on a $9,000 bond.