Neighbors Speak Out About Abandoned Girl

By Lindsay Nielsen

February 16, 2011 Updated Feb 16, 2011 at 7:47 PM EDT

Town of Union, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A neighbor is speaking out about a 12 year old girl who was abandoned.

The Broome County Sheriff's Office has charged the girl's Aunt and is still investigating circumstances, like where are the girl's parents.

And now neighbors are speaking out about how they became aware of the neglect.

Forty year old Lorraine Kelsh of Syracuse is the Aunt accused of leaving her 12 year old niece without adult care.

A neighbor at the Neel-Path complex says the girl came to her apartment on several different occasions.

Both the neighbor and her mother gave the girl food after she had been locked out of her home a few months ago.

"I didn't assume anything was wrong," says neighbor Christina Morelock. "I just figured, you know, some kids like to eat and she stayed well to almost nine o'clock."

Morelock says it was another neighbor who became more concerned in the last couple of weeks and called to have someone check on the girl Tuesday.

When Broome County Sheriff's Deputies opened the door, they found the girl living in terrible conditions.

They say she was hungry and scared.

"Upstairs she was sleeping on a... it looked like about a full size mattress, with garbage, old pizza boxes, moldy bread, dirty clothes," says Morelock. "All I could see was she had a little area where she was living, and I think that kid stayed on that mattress the whole time hugging that dog."

Action News spoke with the Humane Society Wednesday afternoon.

They said the dog is infested with fleas but otherwise is OK, and well fed.

They said they saw dog food in the apartment and believe the girl was feeding it.

The Broome County Sheriff's Office believes the father of the girl is in Puerto Rico and the mother is in Florida.

Kelsh moved to Syracuse, leaving the child with her 17-year old daughter.

The 17-year old then left and went to live with a friend.

Deputies say they do not plan to charge anyone other than Kelsh, holding her responsible for the girls welfare.

The Broome County Sheriff's Office says the 12-year old had been in her Aunt's care for two years, but don't know if the she had legal custody.

The office continues to investigate in cooperation with Child Protective Services.

The 12 year old and 17 year old girls attended schools in the Union-Endicott District.

The district says it is cooperating with the investigation but can not comment any further.