NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Two little girls, ages 2 and 14 months, apparently spent at least three days home alone after their father died in a car crash and police couldn't reach their mother away at sea.
Linda and Arianna Hoell were found by authorities at their apartment early Friday, a day after police reached their mother on the aircraft USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. Police spokesman Larry Hill said they were checked at a hospital and turned over to relatives until their mother arrives in Norfolk, probably today.
Their father, Gary G. Hoell, 27, was one of three people who died in Tuesday's accident. Police did not identify him immediately because he was not carrying a driver's license.
When police were able to contact Hoell's wife, she asked about the children. Hill said officers and friends who went by the Hoells' apartment on Thursday didn't find anyone there, but two officers eventually saw the girls through a window.
Inside, police found evidence that the girls may have been alone since Tuesday night. Open packages of crackers, pancake mix, flour, macaroni and cheese and milk suggested that Linda, the 2-year-old, had tried to feed herself and her sister.
She also had changed Arianna's diapers, Hill said.
Police initially believed the girls might have been abandoned by someone who was supposed to be caring for them. Now they believe Hoell may have left his daughters alone, perhaps planning to return a short time later, Hill said.