A mum-of-five faces up to 20 years behind bars after being accused of abandoning her children to go on holiday where she took selfies sunning herself on the beach.
Chrystal Walraven, 28, reportedly said ‘she needed to get away with everything that was happening at home’ when she left the children at the filthy home.
Her eldest child, a 12-year-old boy, was left with a child aged just 15 months – who authorities say appeared dead in her crib with a blanket over her mouth.
When they entered the property, they were overwhelmed with ‘an odour of feces and rubbish’.
The officers only discovered the little one was alive when one removed the blanket and rubbed her, prompting her to take a visible breath and move.
Officers knocked on the door of the Texas property on August 29, 2018 and a 10-year-old boy answered the door, claiming everything was okay.
Walraven’s two daughters, six and three, seemed they had not bathed in days.
Inside the home police found a dirty nappy in a closet, stains on the carpet and flies in the kitchen.
An affidavit noted the youngsters had access to knives while their mother stayed with a male friend in Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.
Police were tipped off by the principal at Gattis Elementary School who claimed some of the children had spoken about staying up late to change their sister’s diaper.
When a teacher contacted a man listed as a father to at least one of the children, the man claimed a neighbor was taking care of them.
The neighbor – who made the children dinner the night before and insisted she ‘never knew exactly what was going on with the children’, told police a second father was looking after them and would check in on the brood.
She claimed she never noticed the awful odours coming from the home.
Neighbors told Fox 7 the youngsters appeared excited when Child Protective Services arrived.
Walraven was due to return on August 28 but didn’t make it back until August 30.
She claimed her flight was delayed several times and she kept in touch with the kids via Facebook Messenger.
In an August 30 interview with police, she admitted she visited tourist locations in Myrtle Beach and explored a job opportunity.
Despite Walraven being questioned by authorities last year, a warrant for her arrest wasn’t put out until last month.
She turned herself in on February 11.
The children were initially placed in foster care but now stay with the father of one of the children, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said.
Mother Walraven is charged with two counts of abandoning or endangering a child, a second-degree felony.
She could spend anywhere from two years to two decades behind bars.