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Girl, 2, Left Alone In Smoky N.J. Apartment; Mother Arrested

Police Searched For Over 2 Hours For Mother, Who Was Over A Mile Away
Roselle Park 2-Year-Old Home Alone

A 2-year-old girl was found home alone in a smoky apartment in this complex in Roselle Park, N.J. (Credit: CBS 2)

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ROSELLE PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey mother has been arrested, after her 2-year-old daughter was found alone in a smoky apartment.

As CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported Tuesday, neighbors at the Woodside Gardens Apartments in Roselle Park were shocked at the revelations. The hot apartment was locked, and the only hint of trouble was something smoldering inside.

It took hours for police to find the mother, and it turned out she was more than a mile away.

“I’m mad, you know?” said neighbor Glenn Teovisio. “I mean, oh my God — why did she do that? What’s her problem?”

“I’ve met her, you know, several times, just saying hi, hello, but that’s about it,” added neighbor Vreneli Avellar.

The Avellar family lives next door. Their 8-year-old daughter smelled the smoke.

But police said it was a social worker doing a welfare check who first noticed the smell and called 911.

“A social worker was paying a visit to the apartment,” said Roselle Park Police Chief Paul Morrison. ”She knocked on a door, didn’t get a response, at which time she smelled what she believed to be smoke emanating from the apartment. At that point, she contacted police.”

The officers who arrived on the scene had to knock down the door.

“Police arrived on the scene. A forced entry was made into the apartment. There was some smoldering debris in the apartment,” Morrison told 1010 WINS. The 2-year-old female was found in her bed in an un-air conditioned apartment.”

The debris turned out to be clothes that had been smoldering on a stove.

The girl did not seem to have any physical signs of injury and was not in any medical distress, but she was taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation, Morrison said.

But the mother was nowhere to be found.

“I overheard somebody — I don’t know if it was police — but I overheard people saying they were looking for a woman in a pink shirt,” said witness Darren Antola.

“I can’t believe that somebody would do that to a child — I mean, a 2-year-old, really?” added witness Lettie Rodriguez.

Rodriguez watched the arrest of the mother, after police spent more than two hours searching. She was discovered lounging in a chair in outside the Rockin’ Joe’s Coffee Shop in Cranford, N.J., about a mile away.

“She was smiling, like nothing, like she doesn’t have a care in the world; nonchalant,” Rodriguez said.

The 26-year-old mother, Murdlane Colin, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child. She was ordered held on $25,000 bail. The little girl was placed in protective custody Monday.

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