A Harrowgate woman was charged with false imprisonment after she locked her four children in the basement of their home for more than 12 hours, police say.
In addition to false imprisonment, Charnae Lee, 29, faces charges of unlawful restraint, endangering the welfare of a child, and recklessly endangering another person.
Police said one of her children called 911 from a cellphone at 1:31 p.m. Sunday and said he and his three siblings were locked in the basement in a home on the 1900 block of East Atlantic Street.
Police officers and firefighters entered the house through a second-floor window. Behind a locked basement door, police said, they found a 13-year-old boy, a 12-year-old girl, a 10-year-old girl, and a 9-year-old boy. The children said they had been in the basement since midnight.
The children told police that the night before, their mother had told them to carry their mattresses to the basement and stay there - without food, running water, a bathroom, or heat. They were taken to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children for observation, police said.
Lee, who was reached by police at work and taken to the Special Victims Unit, told police she had told her children to stay in the basement for "disciplinary reasons." She told police she did not know the door was locked.