PORTLAND, Ore. — The mother of three young children abandoned in a Portland shed was found by police on Friday, a day after the kids were taken to safety.
Authorities did not immediately identify the mother or say why the boy and two girls were left in a shed next to a vacant house in southeast Portland. Lt. Robert King, a police spokesman, said investigators were questioning the mother Friday afternoon and no charges had been filed.
He said a tip from the public led police to the woman shortly after noon Friday. She was in Portland.
The whereabouts of the mother had been a mystery since Thursday morning, when a neighbor called the authorities to report hearing voices at the vacant house that is popular with homeless people. When officers investigated, the squatters told them there were three small children there, and they had been abandoned by a woman the night before.
Another neighbor, Judy Baxter, 65, said that when police officers and social services workers arrived, they gave stuffed toys to the kids, all of whom appeared to be younger than age 4.
The youngest child, a girl Baxter estimated to be about 9 months old, was carried out of the house by an officer.
"They were sure little cuties," Baxter told The Associated Press Friday.
"It's just so sad for the kids," she said. "I won't tell you what they need to do to her (the mother)."
Baxter is the former owner of the vacant house – the property on which the shed is located – and lives across from it. She sold that house in 2006.
Baxter said that Thursday morning, she saw some young people entering the gates at the unkempt house, so she called the current owner. The owner also contacted police.
"I'm just glad that I'm nosy," Baxter said.
The children passed a medical checkup and were taken into protective custody.
King said the state Department of Human Services will hold a hearing next week to determine where to next place the children.