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DENVER, Colorado – A Colorado couple was arrested and charged with child abuse after leaving their five children abandoned for almost a week in a Greeley hotel. in a case in which there was already a restraining order against the father, the Police Department of that city reported this Friday.
According to the arrest warrant for Víctor Benavente and his wife, Brooke, the couple would have met on July 20 after the man served a sentence in the Larimer County jail. However, that meeting should not have been held, due to a court order that requires Benavente not to approach his partner.
The next day, the Benaventes spent a night at a Fort Collins hotel with their five children (ages 16, 14, 10, 7 and 4) and the next day they moved to another hotel in downtown Greeley.
The minors remained there alone inside the room until July 27 when the police intervened after receiving a call from the older sister of the five minors, who in turn had been contacted by one of her brothers to let him know of the situation.
The sister who called authorities said she did so because her parents did not respond to her numerous phone calls and because she believed her siblings were going to be evicted from the hotel room.
The Benaventes’ arrest warrant reveals that around midnight on July 26 the older sister spoke to a police officer to give her the name of her parents and the hotel address where were his brothers.
When the police arrived at the hotel room, the children informed them that their parents had not come to see them since they left them there, except for one occasion when Brooke Benavente took 40 dollars and gave it to one of her daughters, but without enter the room.
As a police officer drove the children to the Greeley Police Station, where they were waited for by a social worker to be transferred to a foster home, Another agent detected the Benaventes in a car near the hotel where the minors were. Both were arrested without incident.
Each of the Benaventes faces five counts of child abuse, while Victor must also answer for the failure to comply with the order not to approach his wife.
In Colorado, the law indicates that those over 12 years old can stay alone, but inside their homes and for a maximum of three hours, and never overnight. And while those ages 13 to 16 can be left alone for up to two nights, it could still be child abuse depending on the child’s ability to respond to problems or emergencies.