SMITHTON, Pa. (KDKA) — A Westmoreland County man is facing charges after leaving two toddlers home alone.
State troopers were sent to a home on 3rd Street in Smithton on Aug. 18 for a report of possible shots fired and dogs running loose.
When they arrived on the scene, they found two large breed dogs wandering in the area, which they later determined belonged to 41-year-old Mel Anastasiu.
No one answered when they knocked on the door, but state police dispatcher were able to make contact with Anastasiu, who was returning from the Smithton Truck Stop.
Anastasiu returned to the residence with his son and told state troopers his wife was inside with their other children.
Inside the home, troopers found a 3-year-old girl and a 1-year-old girl who was wearing a wet diaper and sitting in a urine-soaked crib. Anastasiu’s wife was not home.
According to a criminal complaint, Anastasiu insisted his wife was home when he left and showed troopers security footage from the property.
The footage allegedly shows Anastasiu’s wife leaving the home on Aug. 17 just after 2 p.m. She was not seen returning to the home after that.
The footage also allegedly shows Anastasiu wandering around the property and peering into the wooded area around his house. Police were able to determine from watching the footage that Anastasiu left his two toddlers home alone for 33 minutes.
Police say Anastasiu appeared to be impaired and showed signs of paranoia while speaking to the troopers, insisting there was a man on the porch and someone in the woods. Anastasiu later admitted he had snorted cocaine recently and called it “a big mistake,” saying he had never used cocaine before.
Westmoreland County County Children and Youth Services took protective custody of Anastasiu’s children.
Anastasiu is facing multiple charges, including endangering the welfare of children. He has been released and is awaiting his preliminary hearing.