MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Sherburne County Attorney’s Office has confirmed that two children found malnourished and living in filthy conditions will be placed in protective custody.
On March 12 at 12:20 p.m., the county sheriff’s office received a call from a local hospital that reported two children were brought in after their mother found them weak and thin. Authorities said they were 2 and 3 years old.
The children’s mother, Roberta Gunderson, had been outside the state for the previous two months and authorities say the children were allegedly in the care of their father, Michael Gunderson.
Investigators searching the home on the 31600 block of 123rd Street Northwest in Baldwin Township said that they found it “extremely filthy and littered with garbage and dog feces throughout the household.”
They also found nearly a pound of marijuana and other drug-related evidence.
Michael Gunderson faces two counts of felony child neglect and one count of felony drug possession in the case. He is due in court to face those charges Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday morning a custody hearing, Michael and Roberta Gunderson learned that they have lost custody of their children. Michael was ordered to not have contact with the children.
Roberta was ordered no contact with the children unless it’s supervised. If she wants contact with the children, she must first meet a number of stipulations: a psychological evaluation – with a parenting evaluation component – and a chemical dependency evaluation. The attorney for the mother says she has agreed to those terms.
The children will be placed in protective custody when they are released from the hospital, which is expected to be in a few days.
Michael’s mother – the children’s grandmother – told WCCO that the boys are doing much better, are talking and walking around.
The grandmother initially expressed interest in taking care of the children when they are released but has changed her mind because of the responsibility that comes along with it and cannot commit to caring for them at this time, the attorney’s office said.
A pretrial hearing for Michael has been set for April.