When a couple failed to return home to their four children, a 14-year-old baby sitter organized her friends into shifts. The girls didn't tell anyone until their money ran out after two weeks.
Police praised Angela Morris and her friends Saturday for caring for the children and sought Bonnie Railing, 28, and James Fignar, 37, on charges of child endangerment.The couple was still missing Saturday evening. The children, ages 2, 3, 9 and 10, were taken out of the house on Friday and placed in foster care.
"If I'd known all this beforehand, I wouldn't have taken the job," said Angela, an eighth-grader from Dormont, a Pittsburgh suburb. "But I really love those kids and didn't want them split up in foster homes.
"I feel relieved that it's all over, but I feel like crying, too."
Angela was hired on Sept. 7 to baby-sit for a few days while the couple went to New Jersey, because Fignar had got a job installing tile there. She was to be paid $75 for three days of care.
But they didn't come home. After the first weekend was over, Angela skipped school for a few days. Then she called an emergency meeting of her friends at a pizza shop and organized a round-the-clock network to dress, feed and supervise the children.
The girls boiled water on a stove for baths because gas service had been shut off at the house. They also fed the two cats.
"They were trying to do their best with an unbearable situation," said officer Leo Frank.
The couple telephoned Angela three times last week, each time saying they would be back later that day, police said.
Angela said she and her friends finally told their parents about the children because they ran out of money for food.
The adults spent $180 on food and called the police, who found the house filled with garbage, human waste, dirty clothes and filthy mattresses.