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 APBNEWS.COM > NEWSCENTER > BREAKING NEWS > STORY
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Kids Left at Home With Bear Cub, Cops Say
Parents Charged With Child Neglect, Possessing Animal

June 21, 2000

By Richard Zitrin

LINCOLNTON, N.C. (APBnews.com) -- A couple were charged with child neglect for leaving their three young children home alone with a black bear cub, police said today.

Adam Williams, 24, and Cynthia Williams, 22, also face federal wildlife violations for buying and possessing the baby bear, Gaston County police Sgt. Michael Rome said.

Authorities found the couple's 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old children feeding the cub chocolate and playing with it when they went to the home June 14 in this Charlotte suburb.

Wildlife officials had visited after someone reported seeing the cub in a car. The license plate number was traced to the Williamses, Rome said.

"It was just ridiculous that the parents had left the kids there by themselves," Rome said. "The small bear didn't know any better. The kids didn't know any better. The parents are the ones that should've known better."

Wildlife authorities seize animal

Williams told investigators that he bought the cub for $400 and that it came from the North Carolina mountains, Rome said.

The couple apparently had planned to keep it as a pet, police said.

Wildlife officials seized the cub, which is less than a year old, Rome said.

"It's pretty good-sized," Rome said. "It was bigger than the kids."

Not the first incident

The children have been turned over to social services officials, he said.

Police also found the three young children home alone on June 12, two days before the bear cub was found in the home, when they went to serve a warrant on Adam Williams for violating his probation for a breaking-and-entering case in 1994, Rome said.

"The 5-year-old was trying to cook on a hot stove," Rome said. "He could hardly reach the stove. He was trying to cook supper for the others."


Richard Zitrin is an APBnews.com national correspondent (richard.zitrin@apbnews.com).

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