Children Allegedly Abandoned

MARTINS FERRY — A Martins Ferry mother accused of a leaving her infant and toddler alone for two hours as she drank at a Wheeling bar has been released from jail.

Amber Mitcham, 21, of 305C Jaycee Manor, was released Thursday from the Belmont County Jail after she posted $2,000 bond on two counts of child endangerment. According to a report from the Martins Ferry Police Department, officers found Mitcham’s 4- and 18-month-old sons Wednesday night unattended and with soiled diapers. Mitcham reportedly returned home intoxicated from the Wheeling bar to let police into the apartment. Police responded after a call from a concerned neighbor.

Officers believe the children were left alone for at least two hours. One of them was found wrapped in a blanket on the floor of a dark bedroom. The other child was found in a bassinet in the master bedroom. The child’s head was covered by a thick blanket, the officer noted in the report. The children were thirsty, and police watched the older child drink an entire bottle of juice.

Mitcham told police the children were fed before they were put to bed, and she left at 8 p.m. to take a taxi to Wheeling. Mitcham returned to her home at 10 p.m., and she told police a babysitter was scheduled to check on the children at 8:30 p.m.

The mother told officers a resident of a neighboring apartment was listening to the children on a baby monitor. According to the report, the baby monitor found in the Mitcham home was unplugged.

Today, Dwayne Pielech, of Belmont County Children’s Services, said the children have been placed in foster care. He said parents and family members are being evaluated to determine a long-term care provider.

According to the report, police said they had to “argue” the case to Children’s Services in order to get them to come to the residence and take custody of the children.