LADY LAKE, Fla. (WFLA) – A Florida mother is facing felony charges after she allegedly left her children at a gas station overnight this weekend.
According to WESH, April Maxwell, 39, is currently being held in the Lake County Jail after authorities said she left two of her children at a Circle K for about eight hours. Police said the children were found “dirty” and “appeared to be suffering from neglect.”
The outlet reported that a man working at the gas station that night said it took a little before he realized the mother had left the children there alone. The arrest affidavit obtained by WESH, said the Maxwell told police she considered the man an acquaintance due to her coming to the gas station.
“She just disappeared,” Tanner Archer told WESH. “I probably should have called the police or something. But, like I said, I’m not in the business of breaking up families.”
While Maxwell was nowhere to be found, Archer said he decided to keep an eye on the children.
“I hung out with them and we played games while I tried to get stuff done and help customers,” he said. “They drew me some very cute pictures.”
But then hours had passed and police said the mother didn’t return for the entire night. The arrest report showed that the children were left at Circle K from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m.
“My manager showed up at 6 in the morning and the mom still had not shown up,” Archer told WESH. “She called the police.”
According to WESH, the arrest report said police found a man sleeping outside of the gas station in a golf cart. After authorities tried to wake him up, he said he was friends with Maxwell and that he was watching her children. When he called the mom, she reportedly showed up 45 minutes later.
Authorities said Maxwell had left her two children at the gas station while she went with another child to “put air in her golf cart tire” at a Wawa in another county.
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) was called following the incident. The arrest report also showed that the agency had been trying to locate Maxwell due to previous cases, according to the outlet.
Archer claimed he lost his job over the ordeal, but he was mainly concerned about the kids, who were taken into DCF custody.
“I told the lady, the very nice lady that picked them up, and I loaded them into her car, you know, I just told her not to break them up. They need each other,” he told WESH.
WESH said they reached out to Circle K for a comment but have yet to hear back. Maxwell is facing felony chargers of child neglect and is set to be arraigned in court on April 10.
The DCF will also be obtaining a court hearing for custody.