Auburn woman accused of abandoning her two children pleads not guilty

The King County prosecutor claims an Auburn woman left her two young children alone in a dirty apartment without food or water for five days.

At her arraignment Wednesday morning, Qiara Na Te Dennis, 23, entered a not guilty plea to two counts of second-degree abandonment of a dependent person.

King County Prosecutor's Spokesman Dan Donohoe said case setting is July 10 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

Neighbors on June 14 reported to police a 3-year-old girl crying hysterically inside a unit in the Auburn Square Apartments at 3734 H St. NE. as she pushed against the screen of a second-story window and asked for her mother,

Whe the building manager opened the door for officers, they found the girl and a 1-year-old boy. According to the Auburn Police Department's affidavit of probable cause, "officers noted that when they entered the unit, there was an immediate and overpowering smell of human feces and rotting food coming from inside the units. ... (The boy) was not wearing any clothes, was crying, had a red rash on his genitals and was covered with feces on his buttocks, lower back and in his hair. (The girl) was wearing soiled pants and a food-stained shirt," and was not wearing shoes or socks.

According to the affidavit, there was no water for the children, and the only food was a bag of grapes left on a bed. According to the affidavit, there were piles of vomit and feces on the floor, and police had to bathe each child twice and change the bath water twice before handing them over to Child Protective Services.

According to charging papers, officers in Cowlitz County had arrested Dennis five days earlier on suspicion of driving on a suspended license, but she allegedly failed to tell anybody that she had left her children at home alone, "thus depriving them of food, water, the ability to toilet, and, of course, subjecting them to the inherent danger of a lack of supervision for five days."

Dennis had four warrants out for her arrest when police took her into custody.

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