Home Alone: Three Young Children Discovered in Home

The children's mother is facing charges

WASHINGTON -- It all started with the report of a baby that wouldn't stop crying.  Now, a mother has been arrested for leaving her three young children home alone. 
A concerned neighbor flagged down a police officer on Capitol Avenue near Gallaudet University in Northeast Wednesday afternoon, she told them a baby inside a nearby apartment had been crying for hours, and seemed to be in distress.
Andrea Sweetney tells News4 she had knocked on the apartment door.  "Nobody came to the door, so I flagged the police officer down to come back with me to see if anybody was inside, " Sweetney said.
Inside, officers made a heartbreaking discovery-- three young children-- a 5-month-old boy, a 2-year-old girl, and a 3-year-old girl home alone, in filthy conditions.
"You never want to see anything like this.  It's sad, but I'm just thankful we did have a citizen who was concerned that came out in the rain and actually flagged down the police about the child.  I found that touching," DC Police Captain Lamar West told News4. 
Police say the children were wearing only diapers, there was garbage strewn around the apartment, and the 3-year-old appeared to have been trying to take care of her siblings. 
Sweetney says she helped police dress the children before Child & Family Services workers took them away. 
"It's terrible," she says.  "But I'm glad I helped.  I made a difference."
 The mother returned home while officers were still there.  She was arrested after giving inconsistent stories about how long the children were alone.
 D.C. Child and Family Services is investigating.
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