Woman charged after children found alone in motel

NORCROSS - An Atlanta woman is facing charges after police found her two young children alone on a Norcross hotel balcony.

Stephina Thorne, 21, was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor in the Wednesday morning incident at the Norcross Extended Stay at 2250 Pelican Drive.

According to reports, a man called police and said the 1-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl were playing outside a second-floor room - shoeless and in rainy weather - with no adults present.

The man said he first called the hotel's front office, which contacted Thorne on her cell phone. Thorne told hotel personnel she would be back in five minutes, reports said, but the man decided to get police involved when she didn't return after 20 minutes. Authorities said Thorne arrived about five minutes after they did, and that she said the children were asleep when she left and she thought they would be all right by themselves.

"Thorne stated she met a friend at the Micro Motel ... (because) that person owed her $20," a responding officer said in a report.

The officer also noted "there were no signs of food, milk or any items necessary for caring for two young children," their clothes were dirty, their "noses running badly."

Police contacted the Department of Family and Children's Services, who placed the children in the care of Thorne's sister-in-law.

Jail records show Thorne was released on a $5,700 surety bond Thursday.