DAKOTA CITY -- A judge on Tuesday warned a South Sioux City woman whose children were found alone at home in filthy conditions that it was time for her to be honest with herself and counselors about her drug use.
District Judge Paul Vaughan told Jessica Dailey that if she doesn't follow through on her court-ordered substance abuse treatment, she could wind up back in jail.
"I think you're hanging on by your fingernails," Vaughan told Dailey during her sentencing hearing and just after she had admitted to using methamphetamine a day earlier.
Dailey, 31, pleaded guilty in May in Dakota County District Court to two counts of felony child abuse and one count of possession of a controlled substance. Vaughan placed her on two years of intensive supervised probation with substance abuse treatment. Dailey also must complete a parenting class. Vaughan said he would not sentence Dailey to any more jail time or fines so that she could pay her probation costs.
Two counts of child abuse and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Dailey's attorney, Louvontree Hunter, said she had recently gotten a job and was to begin substance abuse treatment later this week.
Dailey was arrested in March after police found her children alone in a home filled with dirty clothes and dishes, drug paraphernalia and no fresh food.
The conditions were discovered after a South Sioux City police officer noticed a 6-year-old girl walking alone at East Ninth and B streets. While taking the child to her home in the 300 block of East 10th Street, the officer said in court documents that the girl told him that her mother had not come home, leaving the girl and her siblings, ages 9, 8 and 2, alone with her mother's friends.
No adults were at the home, and drug paraphernalia, including a pipe that tested positive for methamphetamine, was found in several rooms.
Police removed the children from the home and placed them in the custody of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. They remain in foster care.
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