Police: Mom left child at home to go ‘clubbing'

- A Marietta mother was arrested after an apparent night of “clubbing” ended very badly. Police said the mother's absence prompted her 11-year-old daughter to seek a meal from a neighbor. That is when police said they discovered the place where the child lived was in a deplorable condition.

Deborah Ann Oats, who lives at the Laurel Hills Reserve Apartment complex on Bells Ferry Road, remained behind bars Friday evening on a charge of felony child cruelty in the second degree.

The arrest warrant states last Saturday evening, Oats’ daughter went to a neighbor’s apartment because she said she was hungry.

“Dispatch advised that a juvenile had gone to a neighbor's house and stated they didn't have food and needed something to eat,” said Officer Chuck McPhilamy, Marietta Police Department.

Officer McPhilamy said police responded first to the apartment of the neighbor who helped the girl then to her apartment which she shared with pets and her mother.

“They found the conditions in a word I can only say deplorable, between roaches and other insects, mold and fungus, no food inside the residence, animal feces,” said Officer McPhilamy

The arrest warrant also states her mother was out “clubbing” and had not returned home by the time police got there around 3 a.m.

“Five minutes of pleasure can cause you a life time of pain,” said Ernest Laws, Oats’ brother.

Laws said he didn’t know his sister was in jail and was shocked at the allegations.

“I'm totally shocked, honestly, I don't know what to say,” said Laws.

Laws took a tough love approach, sparing few words in criticism of his sister and protection of his niece.

“Whatever has to be done has to be done, plain and simple. My niece is a little child, she doesn't know better. My sister, she definitely should know better,” said Law

Oats was given a $10,000 bond. The young girl was in protective custody.

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