A 5-year-old carried a toddler about half a mile in frigid Alaska weather this week, after the pair were left at home by themselves, according to the Alaska State Troopers. The temperature was about minus 31 degrees Fahrenheit.
After the power went out at the house, the 5-year-old “became scared,” picked up the 18-month-old child and walked to a neighbor’s house in the Village of Venetie, according to the State of Alaska Department of Public Safety. The children, who were dressed just in socks and light clothing, both received cold-related injuries.
Police determined that Julie Peter, 37, had left them at home alone. She was arrested and charged with one count of first degree endangering the welfare of a minor. Peter was placed in Fairbanks Correctional Center on the charge.
The village, which is in northeastern Alaska, is south of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The community is largely made up of native Alaskans, especially Neets’ai Gwich’in descendants, and has a tribal government, according to the Tanana Chiefs Conference. Fewer than 200 people live in the village.
Alaska State Troopers received a welfare check request for the children on Dec. 3, and chartered a plane to the village.
The State of Alaska Department of Public Safety did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.