SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Police said a South Dakota couple left their children in a car unattended while they gambled at a casino early Tuesday morning.
A bystander called police Tuesday to Deuces Casino in Sioux Falls, S.D., after spotting the kids in the car alone.
The witness said the couple had been alternating watching the kids while gambling for about two hours, but eventually left the 7-year-old, 5-year-old and 8-month-old girls alone, police spokesman Sam Clemens said.
The bystander guessed they had been alone for about 30 minutes before he decided to call police.
Officers found the 5-year-old girl crying and screaming while the other two kids were sleeping, Clemens said.
Nathan Dale Ostermeier, 29, and Betsy Rae Hansen, 26, both of Dell Rapids, were inside the casino gambling. Both were charged with three counts of abuse or neglecting a minor.
Officers found methamphetamine in Ostermeier's pants pocket. He also was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Clemens said police officers suspect the couple had been using methamphetamine that night.
Both appeared in court Tuesday. A judge set bond at $1,000 cash or surety for Hansen and at $2,500 cash or surety for Ostermeier.
Amanda Eden, a deputy state's attorney for Minnehaha County, S.D., told Judge Natalie Damgaard that when being interviewed by police, Ostermeier and Hansen "seemed like they care more about gambling then they did the children."
Also Tuesday, a Florida mother was charged with neglect after leaving her 18-month-old son in a hot car.
Police said the woman dropped her husband off at work early Tuesday morning and brought three children along for the ride — male and female 18-month-old twins and a 6-year-old. When the woman returned to her Nassau County, Fla., home, she allegedly forgot the male twin in the car, went inside and fell asleep.
The 6-year-old eventually went to the car to get something and found the young child inside. The 6-year-old told the mother and she called 911, said Sheriff Bill Leeper.
The boy was taken to the hospital with a 103 degree temperature and treated for heat exhaustion. He is now in stable condition, Leeper said.
Contributing: WTLV-TV/WJXX-TV, Jacksonville, Fla.