CHICAGO – Chicago police have charged a woman after seven children were found in a vacant apartment on the West Side.
31-year-old Jessie Hunt, confirmed to be a single mother of all seven children, has been charged with seven counts of child endangerment.
Police said they were called to do a well being check at a building in the 700 block of North Trumbull Avenue in the city’s Humboldt Park neighborhood around 4 p.m. Friday. A person at the scene told police someone was inside a first floor apartment that was vacant.
Inside the apartment police said officers discovered seven children; a 14-year-old girl, an 11-year-old boy, a 7-year-old boy, a 6-year-old girl, a 4-year-old girl, a 5-year-old boy and a 23-month-old.
Police said all seven children were taken to the hospital in good condition.
People who live along Trumbull Avenue in Humboldt Park said Jessie Hunt and her children were part of the neighborhood.
“She’s a nice woman, she’s a hard-working woman trying to feed her kids,” one neighbor said.
While Hunt and her children’s presence in the neighborhood was noticed, the apartment the family lived in was supposed to be vacant, according to police.
Prosecutors said the property owner tried to enter the apartment Friday and found the door blocked by a two-by-four.
Police said the sink was overflowing, the stove’s burners were on and the children were using a tub as a toilet. Officers also reported the children hadn’t eaten since the previous day.
Rabbi Michael Ben Yosef said Saturday Hunt needs support for a single mother raising her kids in poverty, and not criminal charges.
“These are the decisions that people make. They don’t have options for what to do, they don’t know where to turn. She had to leave her children, she didn’t leave them in the streets,” Yosef said.
Yosef said he’s working to raise money for the family to stay in a hotel for the time being.
The Department of Child and Family Services said it is investigating the incident but has not taken custody of the children.
Hunt was released on a $10,000 I-bond Saturday, and is due back in court on January 8.