Friday, January 06, 2006

Home Alone--P. II

The couple who left their boys home alone while they went to Vegas for five days have been charged with felony child endangerment. And their bail ($200,000 each) was upheld.


I did have some of the facts wrong earlier, and some details have been revealed which makes this case stranger and stranger.

Grandma is the maternal grandmother. Her daughter died of breast cancer in 2003. One would think that suffering a loss like this together would make the father more sensitive to the needs of his sons. Apparently not.

The dad and stepmother had given each other puppies as Christmas presents. They found sitters for the puppies and not for the boys. According to reports, the oldest boy said his parents explained that the puppies were "too small to be left home alone."

My own personal experience has been that it's usually easier to find someone to watch our kids than our pets. But that's just me.

The parents told the boys not to answer the phone or the door. Grandma became suspicious when she tried to call her son-in-law and got no answer. When the police went to the apartment, no one answered the door. They entered the apartment through an unlocked door on the balcony and found the boys asleep. It was about 11:00 p.m. Saturday night, so the boys were alone about 24 hours.

The parents asked Grandma to watch the kids, but she told them she was too busy. However, she has custody of them now. She lives in the Central Valley, too far for her to drive up and check on the kids herself. (I had wondered why she got the police involved. I thought maybe she was getting back at the boys' father for something that happened previously.) The boys' godmother also lives in the Central Valley and had babysat them in the past, but didn't indicate if she had been asked to watch them on this occasion.

No information if the parents tried any other friends or relatives.

The parents initially refused to answer their cell phone and did not seem to rush back home. They refused to talk with police or press until they had spoken with their lawyers. (They each have their own.)

Besides all the oddness of this case, there's this: the family seems to be Filipino. At least, Grandma is. The Filipinos are about the most family-oriented culture I know. Going to Vegas is not unusual. Not taking the children and/or Grandma is. In fact, it's usually Mom, Dad, kids, Auntie, Uncle, cousins, and grandparents. The kids are given a chunk of change, the older kids are "in charge" of the younger ones, and they play video games while the adults gamble nearby. (And everyone has everyone else's cell phone number.) They eat together, they might see a show together (or ride the roller coaster or whatever), an adult might take the kids swimming or shopping. They don't like their kids "going away" to college, which makes it ~very~ important that they do well enough in school to get into Cal or Davis or Cal State East Bay.

Something is seriously out of joint with this family and, right now, I putting most of the responsibility on the father. They are his kids, first of all, and should have been his first concern. (Don't get me started on the lack of wisdom of bringing two puppies into a household with a special-needs child. Just what everyone needs: more stress!)

And the parents are not youngsters, either. Dad is 39, stepmom is 32.

Sr. Henry was right: commonsense is not very common.