Mom pleads guilty in child endangerment case tied to 2019 Lafayette Park fire


ST. LOUIS – The woman who police and prosecutors say left her children at home by themselves prior to a 2019 fire in the Lafayette Park neighborhood will avoid prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to charges of endangering the welfare of a child.

Crystal Ford was handed a four-year suspended sentence, according to our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The paper cites court records indicating that Ford admitted to leaving her children home alone August 15, 2019. In the days following the fire, Ford’s family disputed that she knew they were by themselves.

Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson told FOX2 that firefighters had no idea there were children inside the burning apartment building until they found them. He said two of them were hiding in a tent and one child was hiding in a closet. The fourth child was standing in a doorway.

Three of the children went into cardiac arrest, and all four, including an 18-month-old, ended up being hospitalized. They all recovered.

Similar charges are pending against Keith Witherspoon. His case is due back in court next week.

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