Italy: Mother may face charges for leaving children in cave

Jan. 2, 2014 at 10:18 AM

ROME, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- A woman may face charges for leaving her two young children in a mountain cave overnight after the three became lost in hills east of Rome, officials said.

The mother, identified as Alexia Canestraro, 36, and the children, ages 4 and 5, were walking in the Simbruini hills Tuesday evening when they became lost, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

Canestraro was found Wednesday on Mount Livata in a state of confusion and showing signs of early hypothermia. The children, one of whom is Canestraro's natural child, while the other is her husband's from a previous marriage, were found later sheltering in a cave.

Authorities called the children's survival at nearly 5,000 feet in subzero temperatures "a miracle."

Canestraro said in an interview after the three were rescued that she "only wanted to leave them in a safe place" while she sought help.

She may face charges of child abandonment, prosecutors said.

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