North Dakota Woman Amber Barrett Allegedly Left Six Kids Home Alone With A Dead Body While She Went To Work
A North Dakota woman has been charged with leaving six children home alone with a dead body, Bismarck’s KXMB-TV reports. The incident took place in November 2019, but it took prosecutors several months to put together criminal charges.
Authorities say that, on November 16, 2019, 32-year-old Amber Barrett met a man named Faruq Shahid at a grocery store. According to police, Shahid had been slurring his words and “sweating heavily” and Barrett invited him to crash on her floor in her Fargo home. Six children were allegedly in the home at the time, according to Topeka’s WIBW-TV. Two of them were her own and the other four were friends of her kids. Their ages ranged from 8 to 15.
According to The Associated Press, the man died on Barrett’s floor. However, Barrett had to go to work, so she did, allegedly leaving the kids at home with the dead body still on the floor. Barrett and the children would all later reportedly say they believed Shahid had overdosed on drugs. Barrett later admitted she knew the man had died in the morning, but still left for work.
Police were called to the home and the children allegedly pointed them to the dead man, who they said was a friend of their mother. Efforts to revive Shahid were unsuccessful. Police then contacted Barrett at work and she returned home.
At the time, Barrett was not arrested. Instead, said Ryan Youngren, assistant state attorney in Cass County, North Dakota, the police referred the matter to prosecutors in “long-form,” meaning that the prosecutor’s office had time to gather evidence and read through the police report before determining what crime — if any — had been committed.
“It’s not unusually long. The event happened in November of 2019. Those kinds of things can take further follow up for their investigation, and that looks to be the case in this instance,” Youngren said.
On Wednesday, months after the alleged crime, Barrett was officially charged with child neglect and failing to report a death.
Initially, authorities had to issue a warrant for her arrest and she was not immediately picked up. However, by Thursday morning, she had been arrested. It is unclear — as of this writing — if she has an attorney or if she has been given bond.
The status of the children remains unclear, as of this writing. A representative from North Dakota’s Department of Social Services, when contacted by a KXMB reporter, declined to say whether or not the children were in state custody.