Updated: Wednesday, 01 Sep 2010, 5:39 PM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 01 Sep 2010, 4:36 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A pair of Albuquerque police officers checking on a mother who failed to pick her kids up from school found a baby covered in feces in their home, police said Wednesday.
"They were repulsed at what they found," Albuquerque Police Department Officer Robert Gibbs said. "They were shocked and repulsed."
The officer who responded to Michelle Charley's apartment at 3833 Montgomery NE said her 6-month-old baby was gagged with a used baby wipe and caked with his own feces from head to toe.
"There was a wet wipe that was full of feces that was in the baby's mouth," Gibbs said.
He said the baby's entire body, including his eyes, also had dried feces, and his diaper was leaking.
Officers Joey Tosta and Nick Wheeler decided to take pictures of the baby and clean the boy instead of waiting for more investigators to arrive.
The officers had gone to the apartment after Charley allegedly failed to pick up her daughter and nephews from school. Charley had called social workers at Crossroads for Women program to tell them she was too drunk to pick them up, police said.
When social workers got to the apartment they couldn't find Charley anywhere, and that's when they called police.
When officers arrived they said they found opened beer bottles scattered all over the place. Charley was in her room with a man she'd met that morning at a gas station, and her baby was on the bed, police said.
"They made contact with the mother who was found to be extremely intoxicated," Gibbs said. "They (Charley and the man) drank together in the car; they drank together in the apartment. They don't really know each other."
Charley stood in front of a Metropolitan Court judge for one count of child abuse Wednesday afternoon.
But it's not the first time the mother has been in trouble. A spokesperson with the state Child, Youth and Families Department said the agency received two complaints against Charley, once in 2005 and again in 2007.
In 2007, an APD service aide found Charley's then 2-year-old daughter sitting on the footsteps of a police station after she'd wandered off.
Later, Charley admitted she'd been drinking while trying to find her daughter. She was convicted of child abuse, and her daughter was taken away but eventually returned.
She is currently on probation for the 2007 case.
Charley's mother said in a phone interview that her daughter needs to learn from her mistakes, but she still stands by her side.
"No matter what I love her," Alvedea Charley said.
Since Charley is Native American, CYFD spokesperson Romaine Serna said the state must call the tribe under the Indian Child Welfare Law when it comes to what happens with the children.
It'll be up to the tribe to decide whether Charley will regain custody of her kids after a 48-hour hold by the state, Serna said.
Alvedea Charley, who lives in Utah, said that she planned on getting her grandchildren. Michelle Charley also has custody of two children of her sister who died in a car accident in June, the grandmother said.
"Babies can't take care of themselves," Gibbs said. "They rely on their parents and obviously, (this) mom is not capable of properly caring for her baby."