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Couple face trial for leaving children alone

GENEVA, ILLINOIS (AP) - A couple who allegedly left their two young daughters at home alone while they went on holiday in Mexico were indicted on 64 counts, some charging that the children were also physically abused. The couple were arrested on 29 December at Chicago airport on their return from Acapulco. They had allegedly left their daughters, aged nine and four, alone at home for nine days. The 64 counts include neglect of children, endangering the life of a child, aggravated battery, abandonment, cruelty to children and unlawful possession of marijuana.

David and Sharon Schoo also locked one girl in a confined space, beat their daughters with a belt and choked and scratched them, a state attorney said. The children were apparently disciplined for normal childhood behaviour. While the Schoos were in Mexico the local authorities discovered that the children were alone when they ran to a neighbour's house for help when a smoke alarm was accidentally triggered in their home. The children are in foster care pending further action. Mr Schoo, 45, an engineer with a smoke-alarm company, and Mrs Schoo, 35, a housewife, are not allowed to see the children.