Invalid boy, 8, left home alone nearly 24 hours

Adrienne Rene Lopez, 29, faces a felony charge of abandoning a child

January 13, 2011 3:21:56 PM PST
A disabled 8-year-old boy is recovering after he was left home along without food or water because the woman who was supposed to be taking care of him had been arrested and taken to jail. Police say they didn't know anything about the boy for more than 20 hours after his caretaker had been arrested.

No one answered when we knocked on the door where authorities say the 8-year-old handicapped boy was left all alone. With no way to feed or clean himself, authorities say the child has cerebal palsy and epilepsy and is confined to a wheelchair. The child must be fed through a tube.

It was so quiet inside the apartment that neighbors had no idea the child was there alone.

"I would have called the police or anyone I could think of if I'd have known," said neighbor Noel Kazimba.

Adrienne Rene Lopez, 29, is charged with abandoning a child, a state jail felony. According to investigators, she was the child's caretaker. Lopez was responsible for caring for the boy in exchange for rent at her apartment. The boy's father, Milo Saldivar, is Lopez's boyfriend. Saldivar is serving time in a Harris County Jail on unrelated charges.

Neighbors recognized Lopez from her mugshot, but didn't know her name. Darwin Pratt saw the ambulance take the boy to get help.

"I thought the boy had fallen or something; I didn't know anything about this until you told me," said Pratt.

According to investigators with Jersey Village police, Lopez left the apartment January 8, the same day she was pulled over on a traffic stop and arrested for outstanding warrants in Austin County. Meanwhile, the helpless child was alone approximately 21 hours before authorities checked on him thanks to a tip call from Lopez's sister.

The boy was taken to Texas Children's Hospital, where a doctor diagnosed him with a case of mild dehydration. She described the situation as a clear case of neglect and abandonment that placed the child in danger.

Authorities say the apartment was filthy. Neighbors are stunned.

"This is surreal. We didn't know the neighbors were like. This is very scary," said Kazimba.

According to CPS officials, they have no history with the family.

Lopez remains in custody in Austin County. Bail for this charge has been set at $2,000.

According to court records, Saldivar, 28, is in Harris County Jail on two current charges for filing a false report and forgery. He has prior convictions for theft and tampering with a government record.

Investigators say at last check the boy was still in the hospital because he has seizures from his cerebral palsy and epilepsy.