Babysitter found online leaves young kids alone in unlocked home, police say

A Florida mother arrived home Oct. 31 to find her three young kids coated in feces, left alone in an unlocked house.

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She’d hired a babysitter off Care.com, the mother told West Palm Beach police, met with the woman that morning, then left for work.

At about 1 that afternoon, the babysitter, 20-year-old Joanne Simmons, texted the kids’ mom saying she had a family emergency. Simmons, of Riviera Beach, asked what time the mother would be home, and the mom replied it wouldn’t be until after 4 p.m. The mother told Simmons a friend could watch the kids if needed, but Simmons assured the mother it’d be fine.

That’s the last the woman heard from Simmons, the mother told police, despite numerous calls and texts asking if the kids were all right.

The mom arrived home at about 4:30 p.m. to find the front door unlocked and her young kids alone.

The 4-year-old’s underwear were coated in feces, a city police officer noted. The girl’s mother said the girl was fully potty trained.

The younger kids’ diapers hadn’t been touched, the police report states. They had rashes on their thighs and buttocks, according to the officer.

“It appears that the children were never cared for,” the officer wrote.

When an officer spoke with Simmons, she admitted she abandoned the young children, but said she left because the home wasn’t clean.

She couldn’t explain why she ignored their mother’s calls and texts, according to an officer.

Probable cause for Simmons’ arrest was filed late last month, records show. She was arrested Thursday on a child neglect charge and released from the Palm Beach County Jail about 10 hours later on a $3,000 bond, according to records.

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