Peoria father left toddler twins home alone for 5 hours to go gambling, police say

Craig Opdycke was booked on one count of child abuse.
Craig Opdycke was booked on one count of child abuse.(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 3:01 PM MST
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PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A West Valley father is accused of leaving his twin toddlers home alone for several hours to go gambling.

On Wednesday, just before 5 p.m., a neighbor called 911 and said 2-year-old twins were running around alone outside a Peoria home with an “aggressive” dog. The neighbor told police the twins were outside for roughly 20 minutes, running near the street before he called 911 and brought them inside his house. Court documents say the garage door was open, but no adult was watching the twins. The children had dirt on their face, feet and clothes and had full diapers, police said.

Police attempted to find the children’s parents for over half an hour when 37-year-old Craig Opdycke pulled into the driveway. Court paperwork states Opdycke initially told police he went to Taco Bell a mile from his house near 91st and Northern avenues. He claimed he was gone for 30 minutes ordering and eating his food at the restaurant and left the kids at home, police said. Opdycke said he messed up and it was “his bad” for leaving the kids that long, according to court documents. He was taken into custody until his wife arrived.

When Opdycke’s wife arrived, he asked to speak to officers alone and changed his story. Opdycke reportedly confessed that he didn’t go to Taco Bell and instead went to Desert Diamond Casino around noon, five hours before police were called. He told officers he had a gambling addiction and knew he shouldn’t have left the kids home alone, investigators said. He reportedly locked the twins in their bedroom as they were napping and claimed he didn’t know how they escaped or how the garage door was open.

During a search, authorities found Opdycke had winning tickets from the casino and over $2,000 in cash. He was booked on one count of child abuse.

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