A pair of nine-year-old twins were left alone for days at a time over five months in their family's apartment with just ramen noodles to eat and no working telephone, according to a US court affidavit.
The twin boys, who were in the care of their uncle at the time, are now safely in the care of their parents.
The boys' uncle Giobari Atura has been charged with endangering a child, according to the Hillsborough County assistant attorney. The charge is a misdemeanour which means it is considered a crime punishable with imprisonment for one year or less.
Giobari Atura told police he had agreed to watch his brother and sister-in-law's children while the couple traveled to Nigeria in July. The couple were delayed in returning to the US because of "illness and passport issues".
Instead of moving into the apartment, the uncle said he checked on the children three days a week.
The children told police they would "wake for school on their own, get ready for school, get on the bus and eat breakfast and lunch at school," according to CNN.
Meanwhile, Atura said he told the children to call him if they needed anything like food or "help with their homework".
According to the report, the phone in the apartment didn't work so the children were told to use a neighbour's telephone if possible.
Police visited the apartment after they received a call from the children's school. They reported no edible food in the fridge and the only food in the cupboard was a packet of ramen noodles.
The parents kept in contact with the Atura while they were away and were allegedly told "everything was OK". They returned shortly after hearing the children had been left alone in the apartment.
No charges will be filed against the parents because they "left the children in the care of their uncle", the Hillsborough County assistant attorney told the media.
Atura's attorney did not return a call to CNN for comment.