Mother accused of abuse speaks - FOX Carolina 21

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Mother accused of abuse speaks

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Tiffany Hooper is teary eyed as she talks to FOX Carolina about allegations of abuse. (April 25, 2012/FOX Carolina) Tiffany Hooper is teary eyed as she talks to FOX Carolina about allegations of abuse. (April 25, 2012/FOX Carolina)

A Spartanburg County mother accused of abusing her children told FOX Carolina's Adrian Acosta that she is not a bad parent.

Deputies charged 26-year-old Tiffany Hooper with child neglect Tuesday after they said she left her sick kids alone in a filthy home. They said the two children were wearing dirty diapers and had runny noses.

Hooper, who was released from jail on bond, called FOX Carolina after the story about her arrest ran on FOX Carolina News Tonight.

The mother said she left her kids alone while she went to a nearby store to buy a pack of cigarettes - a move she said she now regrets.

"I should have never left them," Hooper said in an exclusive interview with FOX Carolina. "I should have put them in the car with me."

While she was at the store, a passing deputy noticed Hooper's two children were standing alone on the porch of their home and stopped to make certain everything was OK, investigators said.

"As they investigated, they found that both children were in extremely soiled diapers," said Lt. Tony Ivey, of the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office. "One of (their) bottoms was broken out due to exposure to feces and urine in the diaper."

Ivey said that when Hooper returned she blamed her mother, who she said was supposed to be babysitting - something Hooper admitted is a lie.

"I thought that would keep them from taking the kids," Hooper said. "It just came straight to mind. I need to lie to keep them."

Hooper said that the rash described by deputies was eczema. She said that although her house may be dirty, it is not dangerous.

"I am a great mother," Hooper said. "I just made one mistake - one bad mistake."

Hooper's children were placed in the custody of the Department of Social Services, but she vowed to get them back. Meanwhile, she has a piece of advice for all mothers.

"Never take your children for granted," Hooper said. "Never."

Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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