Alexandria Police Beat: Gamble sentenced to three years in prison for keeping her kids locked in basement dungeon while she played the junkie game
Child Protective Services released the oldest child back to this creepy mother
ALEXANDRIA, VA. – It’s off to the slammer for a woman who kept her kids locked up in a basement dungeon horror scene that even Hollywood would find difficult to replicate.
According to the Commonwealth Attorney of Alexandria, on June 14, 2018, Patricia Gamble, 46, of Alexandria was sentenced to three years in prison upon her convictions for three counts of child abuse.
The charges arose when the defendant’s three minor children, ages 12, 5, and 1, were discovered alone in a dark, filthy basement. They had not seen their mother for three days. The investigation revealed that the defendant left the children alone for several days at a time on multiple occasions during her two-month stay at the residence.
Prosecutors proved that the children were often left with insufficient food and sometimes with no food at all. The oldest child stayed home from school to watch after the younger two children. To survive, the children sometimes snuck out of the basement and stole food from the family living upstairs. While the defendant was away, she would frequently send text messages claiming to be on the way home with food, but more often than not, she did not show up until days later.
Why did Virginia Child Protective Services allow two of the children to be returned to this creepy mother?
The oldest child had twice previously been removed from the defendant’s care by Child Protective Services in another jurisdiction and had been in foster care for more than 6 years total. The 5-year-old had been removed one prior time and had been in foster care for two years. Years of prior CPS investigations and findings dealt with identical behavior: leaving the children home alone in dirty and unsafe living conditions. The defendant had recently relocated to Alexandria to avoid CPS authorities from the prior jurisdiction. Upon arrest, the defendant admitted that she left her children alone and later stated that she did so because she was struggling with addiction.
The defendant was sentenced to a total of 15 years of incarceration in the Virginia Department of Corrections, with all but 3 years of that sentence suspended. Upon her release, the defendant will be on supervised probation for a period of 2 years and must remain of uniform good behavior for 5 years. The defendant voluntarily terminated her parental rights to all three children prior to being sentenced in the criminal case, undoubtedly to lessen her sentence.
Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jessica Best Smith diligently prosecuted the matter on the behalf of the Commonwealth. The case was jointly investigated by Detective Ford Rhee of the Alexandria Police Department’s Special Victims Unit and investigators from the City of Alexandria Department of Community and Human Services Child Protective Services.
The defendant was remanded to the custody of the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center where she awaits transfer to the Department of Corrections.
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