ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar)- An Odessa mom is behind bars after police said she left her four-year-old child alone in an apartment for hours late last month. April Nicole Chandler, 38, has been charged with Abandoning/Endangering a Child as well as Possession.
According to an affidavit, around 11:30 a.m. on March 28, officers with the Odessa Police Department responded to an apartment complex in the 4600 block of Oakwood after a child was found wandering around the property. When officers arrived at the apartment, they spoke with a leasing office employee who said an unknown man brought the “scared” 4-year-old to the office after he found her roaming the area. The employee said she recognized the girl and that she had had previous run-ins with the mom, identified as Chandler. The employee stated the child had been left alone on other occasions.
Officers spoke with the child by asking simple, age-appropriate questions. According to the affidavit, the girl said she was left alone “a long time ago” and that she had been left alone before. The child said there wasn’t much food in the apartment and that she had fallen and hit her head when exiting the apartment. The four-year-old didn’t know the number for 911 and she told officers she wasn’t sure who to call in case of an emergency.
The affidavit stated that after speaking with the little girl, officers went to the apartment and found the door standing open. Officers stated the home was messy with dog feces scattered all around. As expected, there was no adult inside the home.
Officers then called Child Protective Services to help with the little girl.
Meanwhile, investigating officers were informed Chandler’s car had been impounded about 10:30 a.m. that same day after a traffic stop. The car was pulled over that morning after it was seen leaving America’s Best Value Inn, a known drug location, according to police. However, Chandler was not in the vehicle. The officer on that case said two other women were inside the vehicle and they said they’d rented the car from Chandler for $20.00. The women reported that Chandler was using drugs in an unknown location. Those women, who were not named in the affidavit, were arrested and charged with Possession.
A little later, the child’s father arrived at the apartment building. The dad told police he’d received a call from Chandler from an unknown number and that Chandler had told him he needed to go to the apartment. The dad said the child was in his custody about “90% of the time” but that he’d asked Chandler to keep their daughter that day while he worked because the regular babysitter was unavailable. The girl had been dropped off with her mother between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m.
A warrant was issued for Chandler’s arrest that same day, she was taken into custody on April 6. Chandler was still behind bars as of Thursday morning, her bond has not yet been set.