Mother of kids injured in fire pleads guilty to child abuse

A 21-year-old mother charged after her three unsupervised children were injured in an apartment fire they started pleaded guilty Monday to one count of child abuse.

Jessica Warthen will be sentenced June 21 by District Judge Valorie Vega. Warthen faces probation or one to six years in prison.

Warthen's attorney, Ben Durham, said the children's grandmother is gaining custody of the children.

The children, ages 5 and younger, were hospitalized for smoke inhalation after the February fire at a downtown apartment complex.

Warthen's arrest report said police focused on why her children were home alone.

The children -- 3-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, and a 5-year-old boy -- were unconscious when they were rescued from the apartment. They have been released from University Medical Center.

Fire Department officials said the accidental blaze was caused by Warthen's children, who were playing with a lighter or matches when a mattress in the apartment caught fire, causing $5,000 in damages.

The children were found in another room. One child was on a bed, and the other two were on the floor.

Warthen remained in the Clark County Detention Center on $300,000 bail.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at or 702-380-1039.


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