A Milwaukee-area woman who lost three of her four children in a fire this month after she left them alone in a locked bedroom has pleaded not guilty to charges of felony child neglect.
Online court records say 24-year-old Angelica D. Belen of West Allis waived her preliminary hearing Thursday morning. She's accused of leaving her 5-year-old daughter and 4-year-old twin sons locked at home while she went to work.
Defense attorney Reyna Morales says a not-guilty plea is standard at this stage in a felony case because it allows the legal process to move forward.
Belen also faces six misdemeanor counts of child neglect. Those charges stem from allegations that she left the twins and a 1-year-old son unattended twice last month.
She's being held on $500,000 cash bail.
A Wisconsin woman whose three children died in a fire, locked in their bedroom while she was away, grew up in a home marked by fatal child abuse.
Angelica Belen of West Allis received numerous warnings and faced multiple charges of neglect before the fire.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the case has more than passing similarities with another case that outraged the community. The newspaper reports that Belen's mother is Dawn Sosa, whose 17-month-old girl was found beaten and starved to death 20 years ago this month.
Belen was 3 years old at the time. Her mother's boyfriend was convicted of beating the child, and her mother pleaded guilty to child neglect.
Belen and her siblings were placed in foster care and bounced from home to home.
A Milwaukee woman whose three small children died in a fire after being left home alone is being held on cash bond of $500,000.
Angelica D. Belen made her initial court appearance Wednesday. A court commissioner found probable cause to hold her for further proceedings. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 25.
Belen is charged with three felony counts of child neglect resulting in death. Her 5-year-old daughter and 4-year-old twin sons died in a house fire Thursday.
The criminal complaint quotes Belen as telling investigators she locked the kids in a bedroom while she went to work.
Belen's public defender, Reyna Morales, declined to comment on the case.
Belen also faces neglect charges stemming from allegations she left the kids home alone in February and March.
A suburban Milwaukee woman is now charged in the deaths of her three children who died in a fire last week after being left home alone.
Twenty-four-year-old Angelica Belen of West Allis was charged Tuesday with three felony counts of child neglect resulting in death.
According to the complaint, Belen told investigators that Thursday was her first day of work and she could not find a babysitter, so she locked the three children in a bedroom.
The fire broke out that afternoon. The bodies of 5-year-old Nayeli Colon and her 4-year-old twin brothers, Alexis and Adrian Colon, were found under a dresser in the bedroom. The children died of smoke inhalation and burns.
Investigators say the electrical fire was caused by a light fixture in the kitchen and was accidental.
A woman is still in custody days after her twin 4-year-old boys and her 5-year-old daughter were found dead in a West Allis house fire.
Police say Sunday that they are still investigating, and they will present their case to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office this week for possible charges.
The woman is being held on possible charges of child neglect and bail violations. She has been moved from the West Allis Police Department to the Criminal Justice Facility.
Authorities say no adult was home when the fire broke out Thursday afternoon. Authorities have said the mother is cooperating with the investigation.
The names of the mother and children have not been released.
Officials say the three victims of a house fire in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis are children and that their mother is in custody.
At a news conference Friday, authorities say twin 4-year-old boys and a 5-year-old girl died in the fire Thursday. Authorities say there was no adult in the home at the time of the fire and that the mother is being questioned. Officials say they have not located the children's father.
Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the state Department of Justice arrived Friday at the burned out home. Fire officials say smoke detectors were working on the first and second floor of the home.
The victims have not been identified. The fire comes less than a month after another deadly fire in West Allis. Two young boys died when a home caught fire in the middle of the night. Two other boys escaped.