Father accused of leaving 2 sons home alone
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A South Florida father of two remains in jail after being accused of leaving his children unsupervised and without access to food for two days.
Authorities said 49-year-old Jean Claude Maxime surrendered to police Monday morning and gave a statement in which he admitted leaving his two sons, 7-year-old Sevastian and 5-year-old Stephan, home alone. He faces two charges of child neglect.
Police said the children left their father's residence on Southwest 10th Street Sunday morning and walked about a mile looking for their mother until they flagged down a passing driver at the intersection of Broward Boulevard and Southwest 18th Avenue.
The 30-year-old Good Samaritan picked up the children and promptly contacted authorities. "The man who took the children to a gas station called the police," said Broward County Circuit Court Judge John Hurley at Maxime's bond hearing, Tuesday.
The children were unharmed and were returned to their mother, who is separated from Maxime. "Everybody's doing fine right now; we're still in shock," said Richie Vernet, the boy's uncle.
"The court is very concerned with the situation regarding your two small children," Hurley told Maxime. "The fact of the case remains that you represented a danger to your children."
Sevastian and Stephan told police their father routinely leaves them alone when they come stay with him, sometimes for several days at a time. The children added that Maxime ordered them not to tell anyone that he left them unsupervised.
"They advised that they've been home alone for two days with no supervision," said Hurley. "They stated that you would leave them with no food. They advised they're terrified of you, and they were not to tell anyone about being left at home."
A neighbor of Maxime said she has often seen the boys unsupervised. "I've seen the boys out; a lot of times they had no supervision," said the woman. "I even called the landlord several times because they were that bad [off]."
Vernet said the boys' mother is still shaken up by their ordeal. "She's still recovering; she's still in shock," he said.
Maxime is being held at the Broward County Jail on $2,000 bond. Judge Hurley ordered him to stay away from his sons once he is released. "You must stay 500 feet from them," he said. "Where they live, where they go to school, anywhere in between, whether they're at their mother's house, you have to stay 500 feet from them."
Maxime will also be required to wear a GPS ankle monitor.
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