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St. Louis mother who left 4 children home alone before fire gets probation

St. Louis mother who left 4 children home alone before fire gets probation


ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis woman who left her four young children alone before an apartment fire broke out in 2019 was sentenced Wednesday to probation.

Crystal D. Ford, 29, of the 1300 block of Ohio Avenue, pleaded guilty to four felony counts of child endangerment and received a four-year, suspended sentence from Judge Nicole Colbert-Botchway.

Crystal Ford

Crystal Ford, 27, in a booking photo on charges of four felony counts of endangering the welfare of a child. She was charged after allegedly leaving her four children in an apartment alone; firefighters had to rescue them from a fire. 

The fire in Ford's home, a three-family flat west of Lafayette Park, broke out in August 2019. Her children, all younger than 4, were home alone.

Officials said emergency responders found three of the children in cardiac arrest and revived them. The children suffered smoke inhalation but survived. 

Ford admitted to leaving the children unattended, according to court documents. 

Ford and her then-boyfriend Keith J. Witherspoon, 35, returned home soon after the children had been pulled from the fire. Charges against Witherspoon Jr. are pending in St. Louis Circuit Court.

The firefighters who helped save the children were later honored for their actions.

Ford's lawyer declined comment.

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