3 Kids Left Alone in Desert Without Shoes, Water as Punishment; Mother, Boyfriend Arrested: SBSD

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A mother and her boyfriend were arrested Wednesday after allegedly leaving the woman’s three young children alone in a Twentynine Palms desert as punishment, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.

Deputies responded to the 74000 block of Samarkand Drive at approximately 11:22 a.m. and found three kids, ages 5, 6 and 7 years old, without water and shoes, a sheriff’s news release stated.

Temperatures in the area were forecast to reach highs in the triple digits through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

Authorities have not said how long the children had been left alone in the desert area; their conditions were not immediately released.

Deputies arrested the children’s mother, 34-year-old Mary Bell, and her boyfriend, 29-year-old Gary Cassle, on suspicion of child abuse, according to the Sheriff’s Department. Bell and Cassle have been accused of leaving the kids in the desert for disciplinary purposes.

They were booked at the Morongo Basin Jail and held in lieu of $100,000 bail, authorities said.

Anyone with information about the case has been asked to contact the department’s Morongo Basin Station at 760-366-4175. Anonymous tips can also be left by calling the We-Tip hotline at 1-888-782-7463.

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