Princeton, Minn. mom of malnourished kids explains where she was for 2 months

A Princeton, Minn. man is in jail and two kids are in the hospital after their mother returned home to find her children malnourished, dehydrated and living in filth.

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Roberta Gunderson didn't want to go on camera, but she is eager to share her story after her kids were found malnourished in a house littered with garbage and dog feces.

Gunderson said a lot of people are wondering where she was while all of this is going on, and she said was trying to support her family financially. As a mother, Gunderson said she would do anything to protect her two sons. That's why she doesn't understand how her husband of 5 years could nearly cost them their lives.

"You'd think you'd be able to trust your spouse to take care of the kids because he's their biological father. I don't know what to think. How could he? How could he almost kill them?"

Gunderson says she left her 2- and 3-year-old sons with Michael Gunderson for two months while she went to Salt Lake City to get training to become a semi-truck driver. But when she made a surprise visit home last Friday, she was shocked to find her children home alone in deplorable conditions with garbage and dog feces everywhere.

"[My son] basically looked like a skeleton. His face was caved in. His eyes caved in. There was no fat. He looked like a skeleton with skin. My oldest looked just as bad. You could see all the ribs the backbones the hip bones any kind of bones on a person, you could see them," she said.

Gunderson said she took her sons to a nearby hospital where doctors began to treat them for severe malnutrition and dehydration. Police arrested Michael Gunderson for neglect and drug possession.

Gunderson said she bought a couple hundred dollars of food before she left, but it doesn't look like her children got any of it. She said her sons are still in the hospital but they are doing much better, but she can't believe in trying to save her family, she nearly lost it instead.

"They are my babies. They mean everything to me. They're the reason I went through all this. The only reason I'm still going. If I would have come home and they were dead. I don't know what I would have done," she said.

The children are in protective custody and a CHIPS petition says hospital staff have expressed concerns about questionable behavior by Gunderson around her children, but she hopes to regain custody when her sons are released from the hospital in a couple of weeks.

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