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Bismarck woman charged after children left alone more than a day without food

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A Bismarck woman accused of leaving her two small children alone and without food for more than 24 hours while she was in jail has been charged with child neglect.

Darian Walking Eagle, 28, was charged Monday after Bismarck police found 1-year-old and 6-month-old children unattended in separate cribs at a Hawken Street apartment. Both were in soiled diapers, and the infant was unresponsive and having difficulty breathing, police said. The children have been removed from their mother’s care.

Walking Eagle had been arrested the previous night for disorderly conduct and preventing arrest. She allegedly woke numerous people by yelling and screaming in the middle of the street, police said. She pleaded guilty to both charges Monday and was ordered to spend 15 days in jail.

Police were contacted about the children early Monday by Walking Eagle’s mother, according to an affidavit. Walking Eagle in texts to her mother had indicated a babysitter may have left the children alone, but police said conflicting stories by Walking Eagle showed no evidence that a babysitter had been hired. Walking Eagle did not mention her children to jail staff, according to the affidavit.

The police investigation concluded the children were alone for 27 hours, according to authorities.

Both were taken to a Bismarck hospital for medical issues related to not being fed for a day, and their conditions have improved, police said on Wednesday.

The infant suffers from medical conditions that required extra attention, including checking vital signs every three hours, police said.

Walking Eagle’s preliminary hearing on the child neglect charges is Dec. 27. She faces the possibility of five years in prison if convicted. Defense attorney Matthew Arthurs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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