Brittany Mugrauer, 24, was taken into custody and charged with two counts of felony child endangerment on Friday night.
Her two children, aged four and six, were found in a cave on the eastern edge of Kansas City where they were living in an 8-by-10-foot wooden shipping crate among dismantled vehicles.
Deputy sheriffs discovered the dirty youngsters while searching the cave as part of investigation into a possible auto parts "chop shop" that moves stolen parts, the Jackson County prosecutor's office said on Saturday.
Inside the children's crate, which had one side missing, there were seats, two small blankets, trash and thin wires, according to detectives. The children told detectives they didn't have any shoes or toys, and that there was no place for them to cook.
When the children were found, the four-year-old was using their hands to eat a dirty, dry cup of ramen noodles, according to a detective.
The investigators noted that the children did not appear frightened by them or the fact that they were alone, The Associated Press reported.
The children were taken to hospital, where they were cleaned and given new clothes.
Mugrauer reportedly told investigators that she had been living in the cave for several days with her children but she acknowledged leaving them alone. She was not in the cave when authorities found them.
A spokesman for the Jackson County prosecutor's office said he didn't think Mugrauer has an attorney. She has not yet appeared in court.
The prosecutor's office said it will seek a $75,000 bond.
The Associated Press reported that the caves where the children were used during limestone mining in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The caves now house hundreds of businesses including storage facilities.
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