Child Neglect Charges Filed After Parents Leave Young Son Home Alone

Bobby Jo Green | Melissa Louise Green (Photos courtesy Cochise County Sheriff's Office)

In a horrifying twist to the Christmastime movie Home Alone, two Cochise County  parents are in jail for neglect after leaving their 11-year-old son home alone for at least two weeks to fend for himself and care for the family pets.

Melissa Louise Green, age 34, and Bobby Jo Green, age 40, are each charged with three counts of felony child neglect involving the boy found earlier this month living alone in a rural Elfrida home. They were arrested Wednesday night and remain in the Cochise County jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond.

According to the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), deputies responded to the house the evening of Dec. 12 after receiving a tip about the boy being on his own. Some nighttime temperatures during that period were near freezing.

“Deputies responded and made contact with the 11 year old who was home alone, and further investigation indicated that the mother had left the residence to go out of state before Thanksgiving and the father had followed shortly after Thanksgiving,” CCSO spokeswoman Carol Capas said.

“The child indicated that there was frozen food available to him and he had not attended school during at least the prior two weeks,” Capas added, noting the request for a welfare check came from someone associated with the boy’s local school.

Neighbors were interviewed by deputies, and the boy was turned over to the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) after attempts to contact his parents or other family members were unsuccessful. A report was referred to the Cochise County Attorney’s Office and a county grand jury recently indicted both parents.

CCSO detectives recently received information that the parents would be at the home on Dec. 29. That is when the Greens were taken into custody together without incident. Their arraignments are set for mid-January.

Capas could not comment on whether either parent had been at the residence anytime between Dec. 12 and Dec. 29 or if they were aware the boy has been in state custody for more than two weeks. Additional records will be available from the courthouse and CCSO after the holiday.

In June, Bobby Jo was booked into the Cochise County jail on a felony extradition warrant issued by a court in Glenn County, California on drug and weapons charges. He waived extradition but was released by CCSO a few days later when the other jurisdiction did not enforce the warrant.