Kids left home alone amid broken glass, mom arrested

Police called to home twice in 72 hours

Published On: Mar 11 2013 03:22:18 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 09 2013 06:10:54 PM CST
CAMBRIDGE, Wis. -

A mother is under arrest after Dane County deputies found her children left alone in a Cambridge house, surrounded by shattered glass.

Lauren Hughes, 25, is in custody, arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, criminal damage to property and neglect of a child.

Police said an anonymous caller reported hearing yells and items being thrown and broken in a home on the 300 block of Water Street. When deputies arrived on scene, they entered the house through the unlocked front door. 

Deputies said they saw an 18-month-old and four-year-old in the living room. Dane County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Elise Schaffer said the younger child was sleeping on the floor surrounded by broken glass and random small items.

“The house was very much in disarray, a lot of broken glass and knick-knacks around the living room where the children were found sleeping,” Schaffer said.

According to deputies, the children’s father told authorities he left the home after an argument between him and his girlfriend, Hughes, escalated. When she began throwing things, he said he left the house. Hughes left a short time later.

“He left the situation believing that they were in their mother's care,” Schaffer said.  “She left the situation knowing there was no one else there to care for them.” 

Deputies said they responded to the same home Wednesday night for a similar domestic situation. Hughes was arrested that night as well, but was bailed out of jail later that night.

Ron Gjertson lives with his wife and three children across from Hughes’ home. He said her boyfriend ran over for help during the first fight Wednesday night.

“He said his girlfriend was tearing the house a part, and at that time I told him to call 911, and the next thing you know, there's three cops over here,” Gjertson explained. “And then last night, it happened again.”

Gjertson added he and his wife almost pressed charges against the couple after their young child wandered across the street at least twice to look at holiday decorations.  Gjertson said his neighbors had no idea their child was gone.

Regardless, Gjertson said he would not expect something like this to happen in his quiet town, let alone on his street.

“For something like that to happen, it's kind of odd,” Gjertson said. 

Schaffer said it is unlikely the children’s father will face charges in this case. Schaffer was not sure where the children are at this time, only that they are with family.