Mother charged for locking child in bedroom while at work

Posted at 6:45 PM, Jul 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-24 20:45:14-04

SANDY, Utah – A Sandy mother is facing felony charges of abuse and neglect after police said she locked her young son in a bedroom all day while she was at work.

Police said they were alerted to the 4-year-old boy after neighbors heard him screaming and crying and contacted the authorities.

According to the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, 26-year-old Bobbi Jo Schantz allegedly left her 4-year-old home alone on at least five occasions. Police said she would lock him in a room for hours at a time with nothing but food, water and a port-a-potty.

According to a probable cause statement, the alleged incidents took place between April 1 and June 25. Schantz’s son told police that in the morning his mother puts on her makeup, tells him goodbye and locks him in the bedroom.

The documents indicate Schantz told police she does not have anyone to provide day care for her child and has to go to work, so she said she left him locked in his bedroom not more than five times.

Sim Gill, Salt Lake County district attorney, said that even one such incident is too many.

“This person certainly needs the support, but at the same time, it’s a criminal conduct,” he said. “And we as a legislature, we as a society, have made it a policy judgment call here, saying that those parents who are responsible will be held accountable.”

Officials with the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office said there have been four or five other cases of abuse and neglect of a child this month, and they said it’s unusual to see so many in that period of time.

Officials said the Division of Child and Family Services is looking into the case. The boy is with his mother. Officials said that in cases like this one, the division will assess the situation to determine whether or not the child can stay in the parent’s custody.