John Michael Guerrero Jr., 48, and Virginia E. Yearnd, 39, of Spring, Texas, have both been charged with endangering a child after it was discovered that they had left their 11-year-old daughter alone at home for a day and a half while they attended a rock concert in Detroit.
On August 23, the girl’s great-aunt had phoned the couple’s home and spoken to the girl, who had informed her she had been left at home alone while her parents were out of state. The great-aunt then called the police and asked them to do a welfare check on her. As reported by ABC News, the little girl said that her parents had left the previous day, on August 22, to attend a performance of the band Godflesh.
When deputies of the sheriff’s office arrived at the house, she was trying to cook food on the stove and told them that she had tried calling her parents, but their phones were going to voicemail. The deputies tried to phone Guerrero’s phone as well for more than an hour, but he never answered or called back.
“It was clear to our deputy the child was clearly in need of supervision, the laws on child endangerment are very clear,” Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said.
A while later, Yearnd did call back, telling the police she was in Louisiana. Court documents state that she eventually confessed to having been in Detroit for the concert but claimed that her sister had been asked to check in on her daughter.
According to the girl, it wasn’t the first time her parents had left her home alone. She had only been expecting them home around midnight on August 24. She had also not been left any instructions or contact details for who she should call in case of an emergency.
The Texas penal code states that parents or guardians of children under the age of 15 “can be charged with child endangerment if he or she intentionally abandons the child in any place under circumstances that expose the child to an unreasonable risk of harm,” reported Chron.
Neighbors came to the couple’s defense, according to Click 2 Houston, claiming that they have only ever thought of them as good to their daughter.
“I know them as good parents, very hard working, he travels, his job is to go set up concerts so I’m sure that he was working and not just going to a rock concert.”
The daughter was released into the custody of a neighbor, while both parents were arrested and taken to the Harris County jail. Yearnd posted a $1,000 bond. No bond has yet been set for Guerrero. They could face up to 20 years behind bars if they are found guilty.