Mother arrested after allegedly leaving 3 young children alone at Oklahoma City library

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A metro mother was arrested for child neglect after police say she left her three kids to fend for themselves.

Employees at the Buy for Less on N.E. 23rd and MLK called police after they noticed three small children come into the store, asking for food.

“It just made me real upset. It let me know she wasn’t taking care of her kids,” said Tawana Lawrence.

When officers got there, the kids were sitting in the front near the registers at Buy for Less.  The eldest sibling, who is 7-years-old, told police the kids crossed a busy street alone during rush hour to look for their mom.

“When officers arrived, they contacted the children who told them that the mother left them across the street at the library. We are not sure how long they were across the street,” said Megan Morgan, with the Oklahoma City Police Department.

“That’s too young to leave your kids there. I heard it was all day,” said Lawrence.

Police called the Department of Human Services and waited.

A short time later,  25-year-old Patrice Jackson came back to the library looking for her kids.

Police searched through surveillance footage, but could not determine when Jackson left the children.

Jackson told police she didn't know it was against the law to leave the children alone at the library.

Library officials say they try to maintain a safe environment, but that they are not a daycare.

“It's hard for us to monitor whether or not every kid has an adult present with them,” said Kim Terry, with the Metro Library System.

“No one under the age of ten is supposed to be without a parent or adult in the facility,” Terry added.

The children were released to another family member.

Jackson was arrested for child neglect.