NIAGARA FALLS – A 20-month-old child wandering the streets about 10:30 p.m. Friday led police to a nearby home, where they found two more young children unattended and within feet of a loaded, sawed-off shotgun.
Police said they responded to the 500 block of Ferry Avenue after a city man reported finding a crying child wandering the streets. Police went door-to-door trying to locate the child’s parents, and eventually noticed a home in the 500-block of Sixth Street with the door open. When officers knocked, no one answered, but they heard children inside so they walked in, police said.
Officers said they saw two children, ages 3 and 4, lying on a blanket on the floor, about 5 feet away from an open closet where the shotgun was, loaded with four rounds.
After Child Protective Services was alerted, the mother of the wandering child returned home and was taken into custody. Two other women arrived about later looking to pick up the other children, as did he owner of the home, police said.
Both Shamara-Nay Winn, 18, and Angela M. Maxwell, 37, were charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Maxwell was also charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Police said Winn, the mother of the wandering child, was supposed to have been watching the children.