Smyrna woman charged with child cruelty

by: Aaron Diamant Updated:

SMYRNA, Ga.,None - A metro Atlanta woman faces child cruelty charges over conditions inside the apartment she shared with her five children.

Wednesday night, Smyrna police raced to an apartment complex on Galleria Lane after family members called concerned over the children's safety. Police called conditions inside the apartment "deplorable."

"Generally, we don't see conditions this bad," Smyrna police spokesman Michael Smith said.

Detectives said they found rotting food, dog feces and roaches throughout the apartment, which had no heat or electricity.

Police said Angela Hernandez, who smelled of alcohol, was living in the apartment with five children, including a 3-month-old. Hernandez is charged with felony cruelty to children. All five children are now in state custody.

"Obviously the parent is not taking care of them," Smith said. "We were left with no other alternative than to remove them from the home."

Police said the only power to the apartment came from an extension cord running down an exterior wall from an upstairs apartment, which Hernandez used to power two lamps.

No one was at the apartment when Channel 2's Aaron Diamant stopped by late Monday morning. Diamant found the woman who is living upstairs. She said she was the one who lowered the extension cord. She wouldn't go on camera, but told Diamant she was just trying to help.

"I feel bad for the kids," neighbor Jonathan Castro said.

It's a feeling shared by others at the complex, where most residents speak little English.

"Everybody is right now out of work," Castro said. "Maybe that's the problem, no money to pay everything like the bills, for the rent."

Neighbors like Cecily Barreiro said that's no excuse.

"When it comes down to it, it all depends on you," Barreiro said. "What are you going to do about it? The only person who can do anything about that is you."

Late Monday afternoon, Diamant spoke with Arnulfo Hernandez-Viveros, father to four of Angela Hernandez's children, by phone. Through a translator, Hernandez-Viveros said he called police because he felt it was in his children's best interest.

Angela Hernandez has been transferred to the Cobb County Jail.