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Woman sentenced for leaving children in hotel ‘room of horrors’

A homeless woman who abandoned her children in what the prosecutor described as a “room of horrors” was sentenced to state prison on Friday.

Amanda R. Whitford, 30, was sentenced by President Judge Maureen Skerda on charges of endangering the welfare of children, possession with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed with District Judge Raymond Zydonik, city police were dispatched to the Days Inn on the west end for a report of “abandoned children/parents using drugs in the hotel room” last May.

Employees allegedly told police “that the mother ran away and the children were left alone in the hotel” and said that the three-year-old came out of the room asking for help and asking where her mom was.

Employees observed smoke coming out of the room, the affidavit alleges, “and (a) baggie of a white substance on the top of the toilet.”

Police say that an investigation revealed that Whitford had rented the room. From there, a K9 screen was conducted and a search warrant obtained.

The affidavit states that Whitford’s driver’s license and mail were allegedly found in the room in addition to 27.13 grams of methamphetamine, a scale and clear plastic baggies, $1,665 in cash, three marijuana pipes, marijuana cigarettes and additional marijuana.

“The hotel room was disorderly and dirty,” the affidavit details. “The room had human feces on the floor.”

They further say that 4.93 grams of methamphetamine found on the back of the toilet “was in a child’s reach.”

Police also say that a meth smoking pipe was found in a child’s backpack along with children’s socks and shoes.

Her attorney, Chief Public Defender Kord Kinney, said that Whitford “takes full accountability for her actions.”

He said that “addiction was controlling her life” and that she is “remorseful” her children went through this.

“She wants to make meaningful change in her life,” Kinney said. “Her actions since being sober are matching the words she is telling me.”

First Assistant District Attorney Cody Brown said that Whitford “abandoned them in the room of horrors” and that Whitford was only found when she turned herself in.

Whitford, reading from a letter, apologized to her children and the hotel staff.

“I knew it was time for a change,” she said, highlighting that she is 11 months sober.

Skerda asked her where she went when she left her children and Whitford said “I ran.”

Skerda questioned whether she was truly looking for a place to stay in light of the discovery of baggies and scales.

“I don’t find that to be accurate,” Skerda said. “Your children are safe now.”

Whitford was then sentenced to a total of 40-80 months incarceration in state prison with credit for 148 days time served, fines and fees totaling $1,275, one year probation, submission of a DNA sample and priority for drug and alcohol programming in the state system.

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