West Allis mother pleads not guilty to felony child neglect
WEST ALLIS -- Angelica Belen, the mother charged after her kids were killed in a fire, plead not guilty to felony child neglect charges.
Belen is charged with three counts of child neglect resulting in death after three of her children died in a West Allis fire on April 11th. The criminal complaint says Belen locked three of her children in a room while she left for work.
Four-year-old Alexis Colon, four-year-old Adrian Colon, and five-year-old Nayeli Colon were all killed in a West Allis fire on April 11th. The criminal complaint says the children were found burned beyond recognition and huddled together under a dresser.
The criminal complaint says Belen told police that was her first day at a new job, and she didn't have a babysitter, telling police she locked the door from the outside with a deadbolt so that the kids could not get out.
For Belen's neighbors emotions were raw. Patrick Noonan lives next-door and called 911 on the night of fire.
"It's awful," he said. "I just don't understand why they're still in her custody."
She told police she didn't want them tearing up the house or leaving the house where neighbors could see. Belen feared getting in more trouble with the child welfare bureau.
Belen was already facing child neglect charges after citizens helped corrall her children as they played in a store parking lot. Read the full story on this incident here.
For many in Belen's neighborhood emotions are raw.
Iris Tirado-Noonan imagines the suffering the children went through but tearfully remarked on what she believes is now an unimaginable pain for their mother.
"I feel so helpless, I feel so helpless they were locked in there like that, I understand justice and the law but she is paying having lost her children."
If convicted on all three counts of child neglect, Belen will face up to 75 years in prison. Belen's will appear for a scheduling hearing on May 8th.