Londonderry resident Julie Anne Keiran, 35, 178 Fieldstone Drive, was arrested on Monday, July 1, on two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child/ Incompetent. According to Londonderry Police Lieutenant Ryan Kearney, police received an anonymous call from a neighbor expressing concern that the mother of the children had driven away, leaving two children, ages 10 and 2, playing in the front yard.
“We received a call about 8:55 p.m. from a concerned neighbor who said that the mother had left at about 8:35 p.m., and the neighbor said that they waited a few minutes before calling,” Kearney said.
Kearney said officers arrived at the address at 9 p.m.
“When the officers arrived, they located the children and did a walk-through of the apartment to ascertain the whereabouts of the mother, and she could not be located,” Kearney said. “The mother arrived at 9:17 p.m. and told the officers that she had gone to the Dumpster and the mailbox and that she had only been gone for about five minutes. The officers were on scene without the presence of the mother for at least 17 minutes, so Keiran was arrested on the charges.”
Bail was set at $4,000 personal recognizance. The children had been left unattended for about 42 minutes, Kearney said. Keiran is scheduled to be arraigned in Derry District Court on July 15. According to Lorraine Bartlett of the New Hampshire Bureau of Child Protection Services, the decision to arrest someone on Endangering the Welfare of a Child/Incompetent depends on the situation.
“There really is no actual age limits set forth in the law,” she said, not speaking to the particulars of this case. “The law doesn’t say at a particular age a child can be left alone or can baby-sit a sibling, or what age a child can baby-sit for a neighbor. It is a matter of several criteria that have to be investigated, like the age of the child or children, the environment, how long the child has been left unattended, is there a history of abuse, is the child capable of caring for him or herself.”
Bartlett said some children might be mature enough to be left alone and others at the same age may not be. Londonderry Police Prosecutor Kevin Coyle, also not speaking to the particulars of this case, said such a charge is a judgment call by officers at the scene when they investigate the situation. “When the officers arrive they take in the scene and situation and make a determination based on the facts as they perceive them, and charges are filed on that determination. It’s a judgment call that the officers have to make,” Coyle said.