Police: Children living alone surrounded by vomit, rotten food cried for help at window

Crackers and chips lined the floor of the Auburn home.

AUBURN -- A local mother is accused of abandoning her two children, with the kids so desperate for food they were spotted in hysterics clawing at their apartment window, police said.

This is the second time a local mother allegedly left her kids in squalor in the last few weeks.

Qiara Na Te Dennis is charged in King County Superior Court with two counts of abandonment of a dependent person. She is being held in jail on $100,000 bail.

According to court documents, the property manager of the Auburn Square Apartments in the 3700 block of H Street NE called police in the evening hours of June 14 to report two children alone in an apartment, and the 3-year-old girl was crying for her mother.

When police arrived, they spotted a three year old girl in the apartment, crying for her mother and pushing at a screen window. Police approached the window and the little girl said no one was home, and she couldn't reach the door to get out, police said.

The property manager helped police enter the apartment, where they allegedly found the three year old girl and a 1-year-old boy surrounded by human waste and rotten food. Police said both children were wearing soiled clothes, and there were piles of vomit and human feces on the floor.

"There was a large amount of rotten food and garbage on the floor and beds throughout the apartment," court documents allege. "Inside the bedrooms were dirty and used diapers on the floor. Officers explained that it was difficult to walk through the apartment without stepping on rotten food, garbage, human feces or vomit."

Officers stated that the children were so dirty, they were forced to bathe them twice each at a neighboring apartment. The water in the tub needed to be refilled twice because it was so filthy, documents allege.

The children were removed and turned over to Child Protective Services.

Police learned that Dennis was booked into King County Jail five days earlier for an outstanding warrant, yet failed to tell anyone her children were home alone. Officials believe the children would have died if they were not spotted by the apartment manager.

"They risked imminent death if there was no intervention," court documents allege.

The case is very similar to Tasha Herndon's, who allegedly locked three children in a bedroom for days recently at her Tacoma apartment.