by: Erica Miller
Posted: / Updated:
ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) — An Odessa woman is behind bars after police say she left her four children home alone for more than 24 hours while she travelled to Mexico. Cassandra Esparza, 24, has been charged with four counts of child abandonment/endangerment.
According to an arrest warrant, on February 13, the Odessa Police Department received notification, in the form of an intake, from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services of a claim that four children- ages nine, seven, four, and two, had been left home alone while their mother traveled out of the country. Witnesses told CPS they received a phone call from one of the children asking for help. The child told the witness they were scared and that they did not have any food or water.
The witness said she went to check on the children and found them “filthy”, with no stove or microwave or any food or drinks in the home. The witness also said the four-year-old child was “very sick” with a cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath. When the witness tried to call Esparza, the calls went straight to voicemail.
The older children were later given a forensic interview. One of the children told the interviewer Esparza had instructed them to stay inside the home, and had left them with snacks (chips, chocolate, and candy). Another child said in the interview that she was scared and hungry. The children said they’d given their four-year-old sibling medicine they found in the home because she was sick.
Following the investigation, a warrant was issued for Esparza’s arrest. She was taken into custody and booked into the Ector County Law Enforcement Center on March 8. She is currently being held on a $24,000 bond.
According to jail records, Esparza was previously arrested on other related charges. In July of 2020, she was charged with one count of Injury to a Child by Omission. In January of 2021, she was booked on three counts of Endangering a Child.