Police in Houston are searching for a mother who was seen on surveillance video abandoning her two children at a cellphone store.
The troubling incident took place at a Boost Mobile location on West Tidwell Road at around 11am on Wednesday.
Store manager Muhammad Naeem told KPRC the mother, identified only as Ashley, walked in with her two sons, ages two and four, looking for a place to rest, after the family had walked for 2 miles.
According to Naeem, Ashley told him her husband had forced her and the children out of their apartment and she briefly moved in with a neighbor, who kicked them out as well the night before.
Having no place to stay, Naeem said Ashely asked him, ‘You want the children?’
The store manager replied, ‘No.’
He said the woman was crying and praying, and her two boys were in tears as well.
At one point, a customer offered the woman’s sons some snacks, including bananas, chips and ice cream.
Meanwhile, Naeem called 911 and asked Ashley to wait for the police with him, but by the time the cops arrived, some 30 or 40 minutes later, the mother had left without her children.
Ashley walked out of the store after leaving behind her bag containing her driver’s license.
Responding officers took the two boys to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, where a spokesperson said both appeared healthy, clean and showed no signs of neglect or abuse.
The department was able to track down the boys’ aunt, who agreed to take them into her care Wednesday evening, reported KTRK.
Ashley’s former neighbors in Northwest Houston were shocked to learn of the incident, saying that her furnished three-bedroom apartment was always spotless and she’s been known as a good parent.
Police are seeking Ashley to find out what motivated her to walk out on her sons. It is unclear if she would face any charges.