Brittany Mugrauer, 24, was charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, according to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.
Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies found the children on Thursday while they were investigating a possible chop shop at the caves.
According to court records, the children, ages 4 and 6, were barefoot and filthy. They were toward the back of the caves and were first discovered in a 10′ x 8′ wooden crate with car seats and blankets.
Investigators said the 4-year-old was eating a cup of dry ramen noodles that had dirt in it.
The children told deputies that they lived in the cave with mother and that “mema and papa live in a hotel,” according to court documents.
The children were taken to a hospital to be evaluated.
“It’s quite inhumane,” said a man who said he rents space in the cave but did not want to use his name in this story. “I don’t even believe they allow animals to live like that, so for a person or two children, I’m saddened by it.”
The caves are large, cold and damp inside.
“It’s a storage facility, not a living space,” said the man.
Court records indicate that when Mugrauer was reached by phone, she told investigators that the children had been living in the cave for several days, and that she left them there without a parent.
The oldest of the two children should be in first grade, but does not attend school.
Mugrauer was taken into custody on Friday. Prosecutors requested $75,000 bail.
The children were taken to a hospital for evaluation and were given food, new clothes and a bath.