PROVO -- Police arrested a 21-year-old mother after her two young children were found unattended inside a trash bin at their Provo apartment complex and told authorities they were looking for food.
A resident at the Boulders apartment complex called police about 9 a.m. Tuesday to report a 3-year-old girl was inside the open-top bin and apparently trying to pull her 2-year-old brother in with her, Provo police Sgt. Brandon Post said. The resident pulled the children out of the garbage.
"There were no immediate medical concerns," Post said, adding that the children weren't taken to the hospital. "There were no indications they were malnourished."
Officers said they made several attempts to contact the children's mother by knocking on her door and calling her cellphone. They tried contacting the father, Post said, but found he was already behind bars at the Utah County Jail.
Police eventually got a key from managers and said the mother opened the door as soon as they put the key in the lock.
Inside the apartment, police said they found twin 8-month-old babies with their mother. Empty beer cans and dirty diapers littered the unit, police said.
The mother, Stephania Chavez, was booked into the Utah County Jail on two counts of child abuse or neglect. It wasn't clear whether she has an attorney.
The Division of Child and Family Services took custody of the four children.