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Boys found locked inside home

mother is charged

May 04, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

After finding two children locked inside a Hagerstown home last month, police talked a young boy into opening the home's locked back door from the inside and later charged the mother with two counts of leaving a child confined unattended, according to police.

Conviction on each of the misdemeanor charges carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail, said Deputy Tom Routzahn, with the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

Routzahn said he hopes to use the case as an example of why legislators should make the penalty more serious.

The boys' mother, Myrna Romer, 33, has since moved from the Antietam Drive house where the alleged incident happened. The boys are 10 and 12 years old, Routzahn said.

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An anonymous caller told police on April 16 the children were locked inside the home, which is part of a former junkyard and is still surrounded by broken-down cars, Routzahn said.

Three deputies who investigated the call found the front door of the house padlocked and the back door secured by deadbolts,Routzahn said. After trying to remove the door knob to get to the children, the deputies instructed the younger child how to unlock the deadbolts from the inside.

More than an hour after deputies arrived, the boys' mother returned from a bar, deputies alleged.

Deputy Jeff Miller dressed the boys, one of whom has cerebral palsy, according to a police press release.

A social worker arrived and called a supervisor, who ordered that the boys remain with their mother, the press release said.

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