A 28-year-old Rancho Cucamonga woman was arrested after leaving her 4-year-old daughter home alone while taking a day trip to San Diego, authorities said Wednesday.
Bing Chen was taken into custody when she returned home and told a deputy — through an interpreter — she believed it was OK to leave her child at home because she had left food and instructions on when to eat and go to bed, according to a news release from the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department.
A deputy was called to the scene of an apartment complex in the 10900 block of Terra Vista Parkway after a group of children playing near the family's unit reported hearing a small child crying for help.
The shades were open so the youngsters looked in and saw the girl, who appeared to be in distress.
"She was jumping up and down ... pulling her hair ... yelling 'mommy, mommy,'" one of the boys at the complex said.
The children knocked on the door and the little girl let them in.
"She said 'come help me, come help me. I don't know where any food is,'" the boy said.
There was food on the counter and water in a cabinet, but the children said it was too high for the girl to reach.
The children didn't tell their parents until later that night. The parents immediately contacted the apartment manager who found the child alone in the apartment and notified authorities.
When the deputy arrived, the girl said her mother was at work, and then said she thought her mother “was sick and went home,” the release stated.
The deputy was able to contact the girl’s father overseas, who stated the mother should have been at home taking care of the child.
About two hours later, Chen arrived home and said she had gone to San Diego with friends.
"The child was left unattended ... anywhere from seven to 10 hours," according to Sgt. Michael Kleczko with the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department.
The girl was taken into custody by Child Protective Services, and Chen was booked on suspicion of willful cruelty to a child, a felony.
She was being held at West Valley Detention Center on $100,000 bail and was due in court Thursday, inmate records indicated.
No booking photo was released.