DCS: Mom allegedly left 2 toddlers alone to hang out at Walmart

LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Department of Children's Services confirms it has opened an investigation after a Lauderdale County mother allegedly left her two toddlers home alone Wednesday night.

Sources tell WREG the young mom was hanging out with friends in the Ripley Walmart parking lot, about 16 miles away from her home near Halls.

One of the children is a one-year-old. Another is almost two years old.

Neither the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office nor the District Attorney's office returned WREG's calls Thursday, but District Attorney Mark Davidson confirmed Friday that Kaitlyn Warden was arrested and charged with child neglect.

An affidavit WREG obtained Friday said deputies were called to Kaitlyn Warden’s home to conduct a welfare check. On the way, a deputy called Warden and she told him she was at Walmart.

When deputies arrived to her home, they said the door was unsecured and they located the children inside.

"I definitely wouldn't leave them first of all. But man, you find somebody to babysit them if you're not gonna be there," said Cynthia Eaton who lives next door to the mother.

Eaton said she was surprised to hear of the news because she's never seen children at the home outside the company of an adult.

Warden told deputies she gone to Walmart to buy drinks and had also spoken with friends in the parking lot. She said she had been gone for about two hours.

"They're really nice. Never would have thought that would happen," Eaton said.

Authorities were seen at a relative's home Thursday, but when WREG arrived, a man came outside and said, "I don't have anything to say."

Warden posted a $5,000 bond Thursday. She’s due in court November 29.