A Colorado state email account that was created to report suspected child abuse and neglect went unchecked for over four years, and five possible cases that were undiscovered until May are now being investigated, officials said.

Minna Castillo-Cohen, director of the Colorado Department of Human Services' Office of Children and Families, said agency officials wish they had identified those cases sooner, but they didn't know the email account existed, KCNC-TV reported.

"It's of great concern that we had five that did not reach the level of attention they needed in a timely way," Castillo-Cohen said.

The state set up a child abuse and neglect telephone hotline in 2015, and created an email account to support it. Soon after, state health officials created a new email account for the hotline with a different address, because the original address included an incorrect format.

But after the switch, the original account wasn't deleted and nobody was assigned to monitor it.

When the account was discovered in May, there were 321 emails in the inbox. Of those, 104 "expressed concerns of child abuse or neglect," Castillo-Cohen said.

Officials determined five cases needed immediate attention, and they are now being addressed. All five deal with potential neglect, not abuse, Castillo-Cohen said.

Confidentiality prevented her from providing any further details, she said.

Castillo-Cohen said the telephone hotline is staffed around the clock.

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