Mom Leaves Children Alone in Feces Filled Apartment - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Mom Leaves Children Alone in Feces Filled Apartment

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Addie Olson


Des Moines Police say they arrested 22-year-old Leah Stockbauer after she left her children home alone while she went shopping. Neighbors called police when they heard the children crying outside, alone in the rain.

Leah's mother, Linda Stockbauer, now has custody of her grandkids.

She talked to ABC5 today about what was running through her mind when police called her just after midnight Wednesday.

"I can't believe this is happening," Linda said.

She describes arriving at her daughter's apartment complex.

"I'm hurt. I'm sad. Depressed," she said. "You never expect that to happen to your own grandkids."

She found her 4–year–old grandson wearing only a shirt. Her 2-year-old granddaughter had on a dirty diaper that had soaked through her clothes.

"I never did that to my own daughter so it just kind of surprises me that she did this," Linda said.

The apartment was covered in animal feces.

"It was horrible. The house was horrible," she said. "Very depressed that my grankids had to live in that."

Des Moines Police charged Leah with two counts of child endangerment in the case.

"Typically we don't see ones [cases] that are quite this serious," said Sgt. Jason Halifax of the Des Moines P.D.

She faced those same charges last November after leaving her kids alone in the car at an Altoona Wal–Mart.

"Why would you leave your kids anywhere unattended for any amount of time?" asked Det. Jason Ferguson of the Altoona P.D. "It's hard to understand."

Linda also has trouble understanding why her daughter did this.

"I don't have anger toward her," said Linda. "I kind of feel like maybe I messed up along the way. Maybe there's something I didn't do as a parent."

She said she wants full custody of the kids and had a message to her daughter.

"I love you very much, I'll be praying for you," she said with tear-filled eyes. "I hope you're safe there in jail. Your kids are safe with me and well taken care of."

Leah claimed she had left a friend to watch the kids but couldn't give police details about that friend.

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