Toddler found alone at home after mom heads to bar

A Clifton mother was ticketed on suspicion of misdemeanor child abuse after she went to a downtown Grand Junction bar on Sunday night and her 2-year-old daughter was found asleep and alone at home.

Maura Pernicano, 21, was arrested at Tenacious Brothers Pub, 118 S. Seventh St., around midnight Monday, where she told a Mesa County Sheriff’s Department deputy she had left her toddler in the care of the toddler’s grandmother, according to a summons issued in the case. The grandmother, when contacted, denied having a childcare arrangement that night.

Deputies were originally called around 11:30 p.m. Sunday by the toddler’s stepfather, who explained he entered Pernicano’s residence in the 3200 block of Misty Ridge Court through the garage and found the girl sleeping in her bed, with no adult around.

The stepfather explained he and Pernicano were divorcing and he’d been staying at a friend’s residence. He said he earlier grew suspicious about her whereabouts, phoned the bar and learned she was there before he went to the bar to confront her, the summons said.

He said Pernicano told him the toddler had been left with her grandmother, the summons said. That’s when he went to the Clifton home and found the child.

Pernicano changed her story, telling a deputy the girl was left with her stepfather so she could go to the bar, the summons alleged. Several statements made by parties in the case were redacted in the copy of the summons released Tuesday by the Sheriff’s Department.

The summons said the girl was left in the custody of her grandmother after the Mesa County Department of Human Services was notified about the incident.


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