Woman who left kids alone gets treatment

A 34-year-old Aberdeen woman was sentenced to nine months of in-patient drug treatment at the county jail after she left her then-5-year-old and 14-month-old sons alone for hours.

Lori M. Grantham was sentenced Monday in Grays Harbor Superior Court for two counts of second-degree abandonment of a dependent person. On Oct. 5, 2010, a roofer working near Grantham’s home noticed the older boy had been wandering around the street for some time. He notified a neighbor, who tried to ask the boy where he lived, but he just pointed vaguely down the street. After about 40 minutes, the neighbor called 911.

Aberdeen police identified the boy and took him home, where they found his infant brother in the empty apartment.

“The apartment was filthy and had a knife on the kitchen counter near the edge,” court documents said. The infant had unrestricted access to the apartment, and while officers were there, the boy opened all the lower kitchen cabinets, one full of unsecured cleaners. Officers noted the infant was dirty and tried to eat food off the floor.

About two hours after the older boy was first noticed, the father came home. The man said Grantham had sent him a text message that she left the children with a neighbor for the night. When Grantham was contacted by Child Protective Services, she said the neighbor was busy and didn’t agree to watch the children, according to court documents. Grantham said she left the 5-year-old playing in an alley without saying goodbye about an hour before the neighbors noticed him.

The case was delayed so Grantham could seek drug evaluation and treatment. More recently, the case was delayed while Grantham was on bed rest due to a high-risk pregnancy with twins, who were born in July and are now in foster care. In August, Grantham tested positive for marijuana, and Judge Gordon Godfrey worried that she was smoking during her pregnancy, although Grantham shook her head while he spoke. The two boys from the case are in the custody of their father.

Deputy prosecutor Katie Svoboda pressed for jail time, saying she was “not impressed” Grantham had only gotten her drug evaluation this month. She also noted that her evaluation noted an experimental experience with methamphetamine, although Grantham attends a meth support group.

“I don’t think she has any grasp of what serious peril she put these children in,” Svoboda said.

Grantham’s attorney, Michael Nagle, said Grantham had been working hard to improve herself for her children.

“She’s come a long, long way in the past year,” Nagle said. “She’s not really the same person she was.”

Godfrey concluded the time and treatment in the jail was the best thing for her.

“You walked off and left a 5-year-old and a 14-month-old,” he said. “You do not appear to be unintelligent, you actually appear to be very intelligent, and you have all the magic words. … I’m going to help you out.”