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Kathy Willens, Associated Press
An unidentified woman walks in front of a Breukelen Houses building where the mother of two girls who were abandoned lived in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Jan. 30, 2012. Police say the girls, ages 3 and 5, were left alone mid-afternoon Sunday. The mother, Dalisha Adams, was arrested on a charge of endangerment late Sunday after she surrendered at a police station. The first floor corner apartment where the girls lived is shown, at left, with shade drawn.

NEW YORK — A mother accused of abandoning her two toddler daughters on a street corner told investigators she tried to leave them with their grandmother, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Dalisha Adams was arraigned on child endangerment charges, two days after 3-year-old Dioni and 2-year-old Dominae were found huddled on a Brooklyn street in winter coats, clutching clean diapers. They weren't far from their grandmother's home in the Bay View Houses, but police went door-to-door at the nearest building within the public housing complex and didn't come across anyone who recognized the girls.

The 26-year-old Adams surrendered to police and was arrested Sunday evening. The Administration for Children's Services has taken custody of the children and is investigating.

Assistant District Attorney Jacob Uriel said she told them the grandmother had custody of the girls. Adams' other child, an 8-year-old girl, told authorities that she saw Adams bring the toddlers into their grandmother's building "but couldn't see whether she went into the grandmother's apartment," Uriel said.

The grandmother has said the girls were never at her home. Adams' attorney, Robert Riether, said he's investigating. He described his client as a hardworking mother with no prior criminal history. She has a full-time job as a security guard, he said.

"She maintains her innocence. The children were not harmed," he said. She was expected to make the $1,500 bond, he said.

It's not clear whether the father lived with the family. Neighbors said they often heard Adams arguing with a man believed to be her husband.

When the girls were found by two good Samaritans, Dioni was dressed in a brown coat with jeans and boots. Her little sister was all in pink: puffy pink coat and pink pants. The Samaritans called 911. Police said Dioni told them her mother had driven off in a car but couldn't remember her last name and couldn't tell them their address.

They said they lived in a blue house with flowers. It turned out they lived in a three-story apartment building with a blue door that was part of the public housing system called Breukelen Houses, across the street from a park. The home was padlocked.

The girls were taken to a hospital, where they were found to be in good health. Police said they were on the street corner for at least 20 minutes.