Mother, Grandmother Charged After Toddlers Found In Cold

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BLOOMSBURG -- A mother and grandmother are charged with endangerment after two toddlers were found near busy East Street in Bloomsburg back in December.

Elizabeth Rhone, 24, and her mother Jeanne Benjamin, 56, of Bloomsburg were arrested and charged this week.

Police say on December 20th, a two-year-old and a three-year-old were found by a good samaritan wandering near the roadway. The children were wearing pajamas with nothing on their feet.

Police say the woman who stopped grabbed the kids before they wandered into the busy roadway, put them in her vehicle and wrapped them in blankets.

"Red blotchy skin, cold to the touch, crying, filled diapers, dirty, caked on paint and dirt and just hadn't been bathed in some time,” said Bloomsburg Police Sergeant Charles Balon, describing how the children looked when he arrived.

The two-year-old is Rhone's son, the three year old is her niece.

Police say the children took off from the home on East Third Street in Bloomsburg where Rhone and Benjamin live together.

Benjamin's other adult daughter and a baby live there as well.

Cops say Rhone and Benjamin noticed the toddlers were gone, but they never called police.

According to court papers, Benjamin told police "I am not half a dozen people, the children go upstairs and hang out the bedroom window, they take their clothes off and climb out the window."

When asked why she didn't call police, Rhone responded, "I didn't think of it."

Police say the two seemed to find the situation funny.

"Difficult to wrap my mind around why this was comical almost to them,” said Sergeant Balon, who said Rhone giggled both at the police station and in court.

Newswatch 16 spoke with a woman who lives near Rhone and Benjamin.

She says she has seen the children run off alone and she's heard what she describes as screams of terror and pain.

That woman has called police and Children and Youth officials several times.

She did not want to appear on camera or give her name for an interview.

“A lot of times when the authorities, meaning children and youth would show up to the house, it would take a half hour or longer of them knocking on the door for them to finally answer even though they were there the whole time. I hope children and youth take all of the children away forever because what I've seen and what I heard is terrifying,” she said.

Rhone and Benjamin are locked up in Columbia County and due back in court next week.


  • pat

    Children and Youth better take these children from them. If not it’s going to be on their hands when something worse happens.

    • DUH

      Why would it be on their hands if something worse happens? Let me guess, you blame guns for shootings, cars for accidents, and forks for obesity. If CPS does their due diligence within the law and their charter, and the mother complies with whatever rulings to get her child back, why is CPS at fault if something happens down the line? If a bank gets robbed twice in one year, are the police or alarm company at fault? Nice job censoring all the comments again WNEP, you continue to show your true fascist colors.

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