Gwinnett County

Parents charged after boys, 2 and 4, found abandoned and sleeping inside vacant apartment

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A security guard at an apartment complex had no idea what he was getting into when he checked an open door and found two small kids sleeping inside.

It was the start of an investigation that has taken some unexpected turns.

Gwinnett county records show the two boys — ages 2 and 4 — had only a blanket with them when found inside a supposedly vacant apartment along Graves Road.

“We don’t know how long the children had been left alone,” said Cpl. Hideshi Valle with the Gwinnett County Police Department. “When he entered the apartment, he found two small children, ages 2 and 4-years-old, sleeping in one of the bedrooms.

Police were able to track down a relative in Snellville.

Ernesa Ibricic first told Snellville police she was the children’s aunt and believed their father was somewhere in jail.

Officers tracked Eric Mendoza down. He wasn’t in jail, but is now — charged with child cruelty and criminal trespass for entering into the vacant apartment.

It wasn’t Mendoza’s first trouble with the law involving the children.


Channel 2′s Tony Thomas found an incident report from January when Snellville police stopped Mendoza for DUI and found the children in the car with him, reportedly not in seat belts.

He was out on bond for those charges when this latest incident occurred.

As for the supposed aunt, investigators say she was caught trespassing at the Graves Road apartment where the children were found later in the day and told police then her kids were kidnapped.

Police say she’s actually the children’s mother. She, too, is now in jail — charged with child cruelty and trespass.

“The kids were transported to a local hospital and then turned over to DFACS,” Valle said.

Court records show there was a hearing in juvenile court Thursday for the kids and they are being kept in state custody.

The parents are currently being held without bond.