Mom says kids found in cave were never in danger

Posted at 4:29 PM, Sep 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-16 17:29:03-04

Four days after police say they discovered her kids alone in an underground mine area, a Kansas City mom is speaking out, saying she did nothing wrong and that the children are safe with their dad.

Brittany Mugrauer, 24, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of two counts of endangering the welfare of a child after police said she left her two children, ages 4 and 6, in an open crate in a cave-like mine. She pleaded not guilty in court proceedings Tuesday and was released on her own recognizance. 

"My side of the story"

Mugrauer said she took her kids to work with her at Underground Diesel, an automotive repair shop in an underground mine area that also includes several other businesses. Her boss Sean cut his hand badly, and she went to drive him to the emergency room, she said.

Instead of bringing her kids along in a fast car to the emergency room, Mugrauer said she decided to leave the kids in her office at work while they watched car videos on YouTube. There were several employees in the office at the time as well, she said.

Later at the hospital, Mugrauer said she received a phone call from the police saying they had her children. Kansas City police said they raided the business Saturday in an investigation into chop shop operations and found the two young children in a crate in a cave near the business.

Mugrauer said the children must have gotten out of the office while she was away. The crate and cave they were found in is often used by the kids as a fort. It’s a clean area, and Mugrauer said she does not believe the kids were ever in danger.

“They call it their man cave,” Mugrauer said.

Kids not in state custody

Authorities took control of the kids, and Mugrauer said she has not seen them since. The terms of her release from jail state she cannot currently have contact with the children. Mugrauer said she is working through the courts to do everything she is supposed to do in order to again talk to her children and take them home.
In the meantime, the kids remain locally with their father. Mugrauer said she is glad the children are not in state custody.

Mugrauer spent three days in the Jackson County Detention Center on $75,000 bond. A judge on Tuesday granted a motion by prosecutors to release Mugrauer on her own recognizance. Prosecutors have not said why the motion was placed.

Mugrauer walked from the jail Tuesday afternoon, and was taken home by her father. She said she is ready for the attention to end and that the family has had a rough year.

The mom said earlier this year, she lost her 6-month-old daughter to an illness that caused her throat to collapse. The family has been trying to recover since, and she’s spent much of the kids’ lives as a single mother trying to raise them.

Mugrauer’s next court date is Oct. 7 in the Jackson County Courthouse in Independence, court records show.