Mother gets six-month sentence

August 31, 1994|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Sun Staff Writer

A 35-year-old Northwest Baltimore woman was sentenced to six months in prison yesterday for leaving her three young daughters to fend for themselves while she spent a weekend with her boyfriend.

When Paula Denise Frazier walked out of her apartment on a Friday morning in January, she left her 12-year-old daughter to look after 3-year-old and 4-year-old girls. When she had not pTC returned by Sunday night, the 12-year-old called the police.

"She always leaves for two or three days, and I was getting tired of it," the girl, who turned 13 in March, told a reporter yesterday.

She said her mother had left her and her sisters alone for more than a day about seven times. The father of the youngest girl added that the mother frequently stayed out all night after the children had been put to bed.

During the weekend in January, the girl said she talked to her mother on the phone about five times, pleading for her to come home. She said her mother said she was at her boyfriend's house, and added, "She said she was grown and she would come home when she feels like it."

Of her mother's prison sentence, the girl said: "She deserved it. She brought it on herself."

Frazier, whom prosecutors said has previous convictions for arson and assault, pleaded guilty last week to two counts of deserting a minor child.

During a hearing yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court, she received a three-year sentence with all but six months suspended. She will be on probation for two years upon release.

The woman offered little explanation for her actions, saying only that a charging document stated that the children were being cared for by a neighbor.

Prosecutor Kevin Urick dismissed that argument, noting that because the neighbor was not asked to watch the children and had not heard from their mother, Frazier was guilty of deserting her daughters.

The Frazier case is similar to Chicago's "Home Alone" case -- the highly publicized prosecution of two parents who left their 9-year-old and 4-year-old daughters at home unsupervised for nine days while they vacationed in Acapulco, Mexico. In the Chicago case, the parents were placed on probation and ordered to perform community service, and they gave up the children for adoption.

Charging documents in the Baltimore case show say that the 13-year-old showed officers a homemade pipe and said she often saw her mother smoking drugs in the apartment. Police found the apartment in disarray, smelling of urine, with beer cans strewn about, according to the charging document.

Tyrone Fowlkes, the father of the 3-year-old, said the apartment had trash on the kitchen floor, clothes piled in various rooms and no food in the refrigerator. He said the children slept on the floor.

After Frazier's arrest in January, the children were separated and placed into the care of relatives.

The 13-year-old -- now living in the Ashburton area of Northwest Baltimore -- has received counseling but remains somewhat troubled, Ms. Frazier said.

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