ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- An Odessa woman was arrested last week after investigators said she left her four-year-old daughter home without proper supervision; the child was found walking alone outside. Kitrena Pettigrew, 39, has been charged with Abandoning/Endangering a Child by Criminal Negligence, a state jail felony.
According to an affidavit, around 8:40 a.m. on October 20, officers with the Odessa Police Department were dispatched to a home on Falcon Drive after a woman called 911 and said she found a young child walking alone through the neighborhood. Investigators said OPD responded to a similar call on October 19 but were unable to locate the child at that time.
At the scene, investigators met with the woman who called 911 and discovered she had been walking her dogs in the 1500 block of Douglas Drive when she was approached by a four-year-old girl wearing only a pull-up and slip-on shoes. The woman said the little girl crossed the street at the intersection of Falcon and Douglas and asked if she could pet her dogs. According to the witness, the little girl then showed her where she lived; the witness said no one answered when she knocked on the door, but she could hear noises coming from inside and thought someone in the home might be hurt.
Investigators knocked on the door and heard an “elderly woman” call out that she had fallen and was unable to get up; she asked the officers to come inside to help. Once inside, investigators realized the little girl had been living in “extremely dirty” conditions with urine and animal feces on the floors and covering toys belonging to the child, as well as large amounts of trash piled up, covered in flies and maggots.
In his report, the officer stated, “I could hardly breathe due to the extremely strong and overwhelming odor.”
According to investigators, the elderly woman had been left in charge of the toddler, whose mother, identified as Pettigrew, was at work. However, officers said the woman was in “no condition” to care for the child as she reported passing out, falling, and said she couldn’t even get dressed by herself. The elderly woman stated that Pettigrew knew her child had learned how to get out of the house and had installed additional locks to prevent it.
Officers on the scene called for additional detectives to help with the situation, as well as Animal Control, to help with the large number of dogs, cats, and gerbils inside the home. Investigators also called Child Protective Services and an ambulance to transport the elderly woman to a local hospital.
Around 10:55 a.m., investigators said Pettigrew arrived home from work. After questioning, she was arrested and taken to Ector County Law Enforcement Center where she remained as of Tuesday afternoon. Her bond has been set at $4,000.