A Central Islip couple was arrested after police said they left their children, between the ages of 4 and 15, home alone with scant food and no heat while they stayed in a nearby hotel.
Tulio Ayala, 34, and Maria Ayala, 31, were arrested Wednesday and charged with four misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child and were scheduled for arraignment Thursday in First District Court in Central Islip.
The children were left without enough food to sustain themselves from Feb. 7 through Feb. 12 while their parents were gone, said Suffolk Police Lt. Patrick Reilly of the Third Precinct Crime Section.
The children used a small space heater and a gas oven to keep them warm, Reilly said.
It's not illegal in New York to leave children home alone, according to the state's Office of Children and Family Services. But the conditions in the house and the length of time the children were left without adult supervision combined to create a dangerous situation, Reilly said.
"There was not enough food there," Reilly said, adding that some of the food left in the house rotted. "The conditions they were left in -- the lack of food, the lack of heat, the length of time they were left alone [are] all factors . . . these kids were not adequately cared for."
Reilly said one of the children was missing school during that time to take care of the other children. A relative called the Central Islip Union Free School District, which three of the children attend, after discovering the children were not supervised, Reilly said.
School district officials then called police, police said, adding that social service representatives were notified.
The children were not injured and they were released to the custody of an unidentified family member, police said.