Police: Children left alone in van at Rivers Casino
A Washington County couple are in Allegheny County Jail after being charged with leaving three children in their van while gambling at Rivers Casino.
According to court filings, security guards were alerted by an anonymous person at 3:41 p.m. Saturday that three children -- a 10-month old girl and two boys, 3 and 10 -- were alone in a gold 2000 Oldsmobile Silhouette minivan in the casino's parking garage on the North Shore.
Surveillance footage shows Phayvonh Peaungvongpakdy, 38, left the van two hours earlier to enter the casino, while her boyfriend, Lounla Xayathep, 54, stayed with the children, court documents say. The cameras allegedly caught Xayathep leaving the automobile, which is registered to him, at 3:07 p.m. Saturday to go into the casino, leaving the children with two half-full baby bottles, a few diapers and a handful of baby wipes.
After the casino's public address system broadcast the van's description to customers, both Xayathep and Peaungvongpakdy returned to the children at 3:58 p.m. and Pittsburgh police officer Paul G. Abel Jr. arrested them without incident, according to court documents.
Xayathep and Peaungvongpakdy were each charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of children and three counts of leaving infants in a motor vehicle. They were arraigned at 2 a.m. Sunday in city Night Court and are housed at the jail on $50,000 bonds. A preliminary hearing is slated for 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The children were turned over to the Allegheny County Children, Youth and Family Services.
According to a police report, Xayathep and Peaungvongpakdy are originally from Laos and speak limited English. They told officers they are the children's guardians, not parents.
The couple allegedly refused to give officers the names or telephone numbers of family members.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.