Wandering toddlers rescued by neighbor; man charged

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LONEDELL, Mo. - Toddlers wandering on their own are rescued by an alert neighbor. She tells FOX 2 the children smelled like kerosene and had overflowing diapers. Investigators say the man in charge of watching them was smoking marijuana and fell asleep.

Investigators say there were so many potential hazards these children faced but it appears they will be okay. Their mother was working. They say the man in charge of watching the children is facing child endangerment charges.

Investigators say it was Monday night when two little girls wearing diapers and t-shirts were found wandering on a gravel road. Birch drive is in the Lonedell area. Police say Dustin Burch, 22, was in charge of watching them. He is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

"First I was very very emotional and I was about to burst into tears. I was in panic and I had to holler for my daughter who had to catch the other one who was running up the hill. And the other one was right over here just in tears." said Bonita Edwards.

Investigators say the children faced plenty of potential hazards including water and wildlife. The children smelled like kerosene. Investigators are not sure why.

"They had the smell of kerosene. I wanted so bad to get them in the bathtub right away to get that off of them . The diapers were beyond nasty. The one child she had bowels going down her legs. The diaper was hanging." said Bonita Edwards.

Investigators say Birch is the boyfriend of the toddlers` mother. THey say he admitted to falling asleep while smoking marijuana.

"When we went into the house, we asked him if we could see the child`s room. He let us in there. There was some marijuana laying on the table and there was also a 9mm handgun that was laying where children could have reached it." said Sheriff Gary Toelke.

DFS took custody of the children while that agency investigates. No one was at their home when we were there Tuesday night.

Burch was jailed on a $15,000 bond. He could also face drug charges for the marijuana investigators say they found.