Mom accused of leaving son home alone to enter plea
The Lake Wildwood woman who allegedly left her disabled, 5-year-old son home alone on Christmas night has been charged with one count of child endangerment.
Stacy Lynn Panzica, 40, told The Union shortly after her arrest she expected all charges to be dropped and called the chain of events that led to her arrest “a big misunderstanding.”
She is set to enter a plea at 1 p.m. Feb. 24.
Panzica allegedly left her son home alone for about 15 hours while she went to Santa Rosa to see a male friend on Christmas night, according to Nevada County Undersheriff Richard Kimball.
Her parents went to her residence at about 1 p.m. Saturday and allegedly found the boy in his crib in the empty house. They called law enforcement Sunday morning to report they had not been able to locate their daughter, according to dispatch reports.
But, according to Panzica, she had arranged for a babysitter and had told her mother – who lives next door – that she was leaving a few minutes before the babysitter was to arrive. She also said there was a baby monitor in her son’s room that was connected to a speaker in her parents’ home.
“My fault was to leave five minutes early,” Panzica said, explaining her decision to leave before the babysitter arrived. Her son “was out like a light,” she added.
Panzica said she went next door and talked to her mother, who had been watching a movie with her headphones on.
“She went back to sleep; that’s why she didn’t remember,” Panzica said.
She added that she had locked the door, believing the babysitter had a key. And, according to Panzica, the babysitter did not have her new cellular telephone number. After trying unsuccessfully to reach her, the babysitter allegedly knocked on her parents’ door, got no answer, and then went home.
Panzica declined to give The Union the sitter’s name, alleging threats had been made to her regarding making that person’s name public.
Panzica also disputed allegations that her parents and sheriff’s deputies had been unable to reach her.
“The sheriff left me a voice mail asking me to call,” she said.
While at her friend’s house in Novato, she also received from him a message that her mother had called, but it didn’t sound urgent, she said.
Accusations that her house was trashed were unfounded, Panzica added.
“It had been immaculate three days earlier,” she said, adding any debris was from Christmas presents opened earlier in the day and some ornaments her son had broken. “I didn’t have a chance to clean it up.”
Panzica, a single mother, said her special-needs child is her “life and soul.”
“I am so particular about his care,” she said. “The bottom line is, this will all go away. All it is, is a misunderstanding.
“I’m a good person, a Christian person. I know these charges will be dropped.”
Panzica has been appointed a public defender and is out of custody on $10,000 bail.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4229.
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