Police: Mother left kids to help friend in a fight; ‘deplorable’ home conditions detailed
Police have charged a woman for leaving her two children alone in their Bedford Dwellings home. The 23-year-old woman, Mattie Viola Sims, told police that she left the residence in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood to help a friend who was about to fight nearby.
The children, ages 4 and 1, are in custody of the Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families, because of the incident, police said. Sims is facing felony charges of endangering the welfare of children and misdemeanor counts of reckless endangering.
Sims was drunk when she came home and encountered police, the criminal complaint said.
A concerned neighbor called police at 11:22 p.m. to check on the kids at the home in the 2500 block of Bedford Avenue. She told police she saw the children opening the front door and exiting the home multiple times Monday night. At about 10:25 p.m., she gave them food and something to drink.
The neighbor didn’t see when Sims left the home, police wrote in the complaint.
While they were talking to the neighbor, police heard the children crying.
Inside, police found deplorable conditions that included soiled clothing, trash, human feces, old food and dirt covering the floor. A child’s cup was sitting next to a bottle of bleach on a small table by the front door and there was an empty gun holster and a bottle of lighter fluid next to the bleach, police wrote in the complaint.
When a police officer walked into the kitchen, the 4-year-old ran in and said, “I want to show you something!” and picked up a steak knife and held it in the air, according to the complaint.
There was a bag of onions, half-eaten birthday cake, two yogurts, five vitamin drinks and an open beer in the refrigerator and a bag of vegetables and french fries in the freezer, according to the complaint.
Sims’ bedroom had a mattress on the floor and a television on a nightstand. The children’s bedroom was covered with dirty clothes and there was another mattress on the floor for the 4-year-old and a small bassinet for the 1-year-old, police wrote in the complaint.
The children’s bedroom window had no glass in it, police said.
Police called Children, Youth and Family officials and the kids were taken to UPMC Children’s Hospital to be evaluated.
Sims came running across Bedford Avenue at 11:52 p.m. She told police she’d only been gone for 15 minutes, according to the complaint.
She was highly intoxicated and told police she’d left to help a friend who was “about to fight someone,” police wrote in the complaint.
The children spent Monday night in the hospital, police said.
Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .