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RACINE, WI – Police found a 7-year-old child caring for a 10-month-old infant on Saturday,  leading to child neglect and abandonment charges for a Racine woman.

The 48-year-old woman is their grandmother. She was given guardianship of the children because their mother is in prison. If convicted of the two charges of child abandonment and two counts of child neglect, the grandmother faces up to 21 years six months in prison and/or fines up to $100,000.

She is not being named to protect the identity of the children.

According to the criminal complaint filed Monday in Racine County Circuit Court, police were called at 8:37 p.m. Saturday night by someone who became aware the children were home alone.

The person who called the police said she found the 7-year-old child cutting an onion with a kitchen knife and cooking noodles on the stove, and that the child had given the infant adult NyQuil. The woman ran to get her cell phone to call police, and when she went back inside, she saw the older child cutting a watermelon on the kitchen floor.

When police arrived, officers found the watermelon on the floor, burned noodles on the stove, and that the oven was on at 500 degrees. The house smelled like marijuana and was “very cold,” according to the criminal complaint.

The baby was also found sitting on a bed next to an open window that had no screen in it.

The children were taken to the emergency room where they were given food and medical care, and then placed into foster care.

Their grandmother appeared to police to not have been at the house since Friday. They found her in Chicago. She is due in court May 29 for a preliminary hearing.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.