Police on Wednesday arrested a 32-year-old mother whose toddlers were found wandering alone without a parent near a South Los Angeles liquor store earlier this week.
Sidnicka Wilson was booked on suspicion of child abuse, after police said someone who recognized her from news reports flagged down officers Wednesday afternoon.
Wilson tried to give officers a fake name and was in possession of crack cocaine at the time of her arrest, police said.
The arrest came after the Los Angeles Police Department released a DMV photo of her.
“When she saw her face on the news, she became more concerned and was afraid to come home,” LAPD Capt. Lillian Carranza said.
The case broke Monday morning after two good Samaritans found her 3-year-old and 2-year-old sons wandering streets in South Los Angeles.
But their mother was nowhere to be found.
Police searched the coroner’s office, hospitals and jails to try to find her.
Family members said Wilson has eight children with different fathers, beginning at the age of 12.
At one point Wilson was stabbed in her pregnant stomach by an ex, family members said.
A witness described the two toddlers as hungry and filthy.
“All she had to do was call,” said Voncille Williams, the toddlers’ grandmother.
Carranza said it appeared they hadn't been tended to for at least a couple of days, but knew how to feed themselves.
One of the boys was pedaling his tricycle toward Manchester Avenue around 9 a.m. Monday when Luis Rodriguez spotted him and prevented the child from entering the street. Rodriguez had pulled over to a nearby parking lot because his truck broke down.
"Destiny or whatever, I never have problems with my truck, I was ready to go to work," Rodriguez said. "I ask them, 'Where you live, know? Where is mom?' And, he just pointed out to that gate over there. I said, 'You live over there?'"
Rodriguez then found the boy’s brother on a sidewalk nearby.
"These kids, they were suffering," Rodriguez said.
With no sign of the boys’ parents, another witness called 911.
"(George) ran down to the apartments where he stayed, he seemed a little frightened until he figured out that we were really trying to help him," Markeisha Hall said.
The LAPD confirms the boys are now with the Department of Children and Family Services.
Wilson’s six other children are also in state custody because of prior investigations.
"Whenever possible, it's best for child to be with their family. And quite often we have to work with families and help the families know how to keep the children safe," DCFS spokesman Armand Montiel said.
Last month, the boys sought food all by themselves at a neighborhood liquor store, according to the LAPD.
Neighbors tell NBC4 that they believe social workers have checked in on the children before.