ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Angelina County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested a 33-year-old woman on an arrest warrant for two counts of child endangerment Monday. Crystal Gail Berry, of Angelina County, allegedly went to Houston and left her 14-year-old daughter and son home alone for at least 18 days.
Berry is still being held in the Angelina County Jail on a charge of child endangerment, which is a state jail felony. The bond for the charge has been set at $5,000.
According to the arrest affidavit, Chris Wade, an investigator with the ACSO, spoke with the girl, her step-mother, her grandfather, and her uncle. Berry allegedly called the girl's step-mother and asked if the woman would bring her daughter a cell phone on April 20. Berry also reportedly told the girl's step-mother that she would be back later that night.
When the step-mother got to the residence on FM 1819, she found the girl waiting for her little brother to get off the bus. The girl told her step-mother that Berry had left home for Houston earlier that day, the affidavit stated.
At one point during Berry's alleged absence, the 14-year-old girl called her grandfather and asked him to pick up her younger brother after he got off the school bus because "she was afraid to take care of (her brother) by herself." On April 23, the girl got so scared that she was home alone that she called her uncle and asked him to come pick her up. He did so, and she stayed with him at his Pasadena residence for about three days before he brought her back home.
The affidavit stated that the 14-year-girl texted her step-mother on April 28 and asked the woman to take her to a party. When the step-mother took the girl home the next day, she realized that Berry still hadn't returned from Houston, and she stated questioning the girl about it. The 14-year-old then told her step-mother that Berry hadn't returned home since she left on April 20 and that her mother had told her that she was going to Houston to get her car repaired.
According to the affidavit, the 14-year-old girl told Wade that this incident wasn't the first time that she had and her brother had been left home alone.
"(The girl) stated that she believes her mom did this because she is on illegal drugs," the affidavit stated. "(The girl ) that she witnessed Crystal snort a white powder-substance off of a table in her bedroom approximately two weeks prior to this incident."
In addition, the girl told the ACSO investigator that her mother had called her approximately three times while she was in Houston. Each time, she gave an excuse as to why she wasn't coming home, the affidavit stated.
After several attempts, Wade finally contacted Berry by phone on May 8. She allegedly told him that she was still in Houston getting her car fixed. She also told him that while she was on her way to Houston, she received a call that her boyfriend had been involved in an accident and was in a Galveston hospital.
When Wade asked her why she had left her children home alone, she allegedly responded that she had made arrangements with the girl's grandfather for him to pick up her son after he got back from school each day. She also told him that she had asked her brother to go check on her daughter and bring her to Houston.
The grandfather told Wade that Berry's son had been staying with him since April 20, according to the affidavit. He also said that Berry had told him that she would be by to pick the boy up, but she never did. In addition, the grandfather told Wade that Berry had never called him to ask him to pick up her son.
According to the affidavit, Berry's brother told Wade that his niece called him to let him know that she was home alone and to ask if she could stay with him. When he called his sister to ask her why she had left her daughter alone, she just told him that she was in Houston. Berry's brother also told Wade, that she called him to tell him that he needed to take her daughter back home because she had to go to school. He told the investigator that he did so "with the understanding that (Berry) was also on her way back to the residence."
The affidavit did not indicate when Berry finally came home from Houston to take care of her kids.