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Cops: Darien 5 y/o Left Home Alone as Mother Babysits

As his mother drove another family's five-year-old from preschool to dance class, she left her own sick child home alone, Darien police said.

A Darien woman left her own sick five-year-old home alone as she went to drive a five-year-old child she was babysitting from New Canaan to a dance class, Darien police said.

All the information in this account (an accusation not proven in court) was provided by police, including statements witnesses gave police:

At 11:40 a.m. Friday, police were called by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families on a report of a five-year-old possibly left unsupervised in a Fairfield Avenue apartment.

Police arrived at the building and were able to gain access to the hallway of the first-floor apartment. They knocked on the door after hearing a child's voice inside.

The child opened the door and told police that no one else was home and that he wasn't supposed to let anyone inside. Police entered the apartment. They confirmed that no one else was there.

Police noticed that the home was clean, the child was in clean pajamas and the child wasn't in school because he was sick. A tray was on a table with food for the child.

The Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) was called, and they sent a case worker to the scene. While police waited for the case worker, the child's uncle arrived.

The uncle told police he had contacted DCF after the child's father -- who was on a business trip in California -- had called him.

According to the uncle, the boy had been able to call his father using an iPad or similar device the child was playing with, and the father was disturbed that he wasn't able to reach the child's mother. The brother later gave police a sworn, written statement about the matter.

The uncle told police that he believed the child had been left alone since shortly after 7 a.m. and that the child had been unsupervised by an adult at home at other times. He said the child has an older brother in school. The uncle was permitted to take custody of both boys.

Police were able to contact the mother, Gliese Porretta, 33, and advised her to return to the apartment, where she arrived at 12:20 p.m.

She was driving a vehicle owned by the family of a five-year-old girl she was babysitting. She had left her own child at home to get the vehicle and pick up the girl from a day-care establishment in New Canaan to bring her to dance class, she told police.

She told police she had only been away from the apartment for 30 or 35 minutes.

Porretta was charged with risk of injury to a minor, a felony. She contacted the family of the girl she was babysitting and members of that family retrieved the girl and the vehicle.

Porretta, who also has a job at a Darien restaurant, was released on a promise to appear Monday, March 24, in state Superior Court in Stamford.

She was released on the condition that she has no further contact with her children until she spoke further with DCF.

Editor's note: Here's a list of frequently asked questions about reporting abuse and neglect to the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.

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