The parents of three children who were found left alone without food or water in a trashed house were arraigned in Buffalo City Court Tuesday morning and allowed to remain free until their next court appearance in August.
Maureen Fabre, 24, and Tirell Hagans, 26, are charged with three counts each of child endangerment and failing to exercise control of a minor, both Class A misdemeanors. Both defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
On July 11, police were called to a house on 15th Street by a person who found the children, ages 1, 2 and 3, alone in what Buffalo Police described as “deplorable” conditions. Two were naked, one was wearing a diaper, and police said they had been getting water from a toilet since they couldn’t reach a sink.
“All three of the children appeared emaciated and extremely malnourished,” the Police Department said at the time.
Fabre is the mother of all three children, and Hagans is the father of the youngest two.
The children were examined at Women & Children’s Hospital and are now in the care of grandparents, according to acting District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty Jr. Judge Amy Martoche issued a temporary order of protection to keep the parents from visiting the children.
Following the arraignment, Flaherty said investigators are still looking into how long and how often the children were left alone by the parents. He said it was unclear where the adults were last Monday, although the mother had said she was working.
He said that the county’s office of Child Protective Services also will be investigating the children’s situation to protect them “now and in the future.”
Flaherty thanked the person who called police to help the children. He didn’t want to identify the caller by name but said the person had access to the house and found the children. The same person allowed police inside.
“It’s always easy not to say anything,” Flaherty said. “I commend the citizen for being willing to get involved.”
Neighbors told police that the house was considered a hangout for transients and some said they didn’t know anyone was living there.
Bethany A. Solek of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Unit is prosecuting the case. The issue of the children’s welfare and placement will be handled in Family Court, Flaherty said.