The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

May 9, 2013

Police: Babysitter left young children unattended at park

DANVILLE — A Danville babysitter faces a preliminary hearing in June on charges of leaving four children unattended in a public park without the mother’s knowledge.

Jessica Helwig, 26, of 16 Beaver Place, was charged with endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person for the incident April 3 at Hess Field. Helwig, who is free on $10,000 unsecured bail, is scheduled to appear for a hearing before Montour County District Judge Marvin Shrawder at 9:30 a.m.  June 5.

Police said she left the kids without warm clothes or clean diapers and they were in danger because of being close to vehicle traffic, the skateboard park and a wooded area.

Mahoning Township Patrolman Daniel Patel said two people at the field told him a vehicle dropped off some children and the driver told them “Don’t move. Stay right here” and drove away.

Patel said there was a 1-year-old boy, a 3-year-old girl, a 6-year-old boy and a 9-year-old boy. The youngest boy was wet from his full diaper leaking and needing changed, police said. The girl had no socks or shoes on and the 6- and 9-year-old were playing in the skate park on a day with a strong wind and a temperature around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, police said.

Tammy Lapchak approached the children after about 30 minutes and asked where their mother was. The children said she was at work and Jess dropped them off. Lapchak took the younger two and put them in her van where it was warm until police arrived.

Lapchak said this wasn’t the first time she had seen the youngsters dressed inappropriately at the park. Police found their older brother practicing on the field with a team.

Police contacted the children’s mother, Christine Dissinger, at work. She told them Helwig was babysitting them. Helwig works where Dissinger does and had just arrived for her shift.

After police told Dissinger the children were unsupervised at the park, Dissinger yelled at Helwig, left work and went to the park. She said Helwig was babysitting until her shift and then Helwig’s sister was supposed to watch the children.

Dissinger told the officer Helwig doesn’t have child seats in her car and didn’t know why she would drive them anywhere.

Helwig told police her sister wasn’t going to watch the children and they wanted to go the park to see their older brother practice. She told police the 9-year-old was going to be responsible for them.

When police asked her who was going to change the baby’s diaper, she said she didn’t know, according to the charges. She said she didn’t pack extra diapers.

Because the coach dropped the oldest boy off at home before Helwig assumed he would take all the kids home. She said she was only dropping them off from 4:30 p.m. to around 6 p.m., police said.

Email comments to kblackledge@thedanvillenews.com.

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