Deputy Finds Toddler Wandering Near Busy Intersection, Parents, Babysitters Nowhere in Sight
UPDATE: 7/6/2017, 10:23 P.M. – Due to the fluid circumstances surrounding yesterday’s incident on Mallard Street, Officials have now provided a more accurate explanation of the events that took place. According to HCSO Spokesperson Michael Terry, the child was left in the care of an uncle who was staying at the residence. The uncle decided to leave the child in the care of his mother who lives down the street, while he made a trip the store. The uncle’s mother then decided to leave the child alone after she fell asleep to walk back to her home for cigarettes and water. That’s when the child woke up and walked outside. The person responsible for watching the child did not return until approximately 20 minutes after law enforcement located the child. The woman responsible for watching the child is presumed to be the same person we approached and asked if she knew the child, but that has not been confirmed.
Officials say the Department of Children and Families has been notified and the incident has also been turned over to the State Attorney’s Office to investigate for possible criminal charges.
SPRING HILL – A Hernando County Sheriff’s Deputy on routine patrol in the area of Mallard Street and Deltona Blvd happened upon a young toddler wandering alone outside a residence.
Sources tell RNRF that a deputy noticed the little girl in the yard of 9395 Mallard Street, surrounded by rusty sheet metal, several broken down vehicles and trash strewn throughout the tall uncut grass.
Deputies tried to make contact with the residents inside the home but no one responded to their numerous announcements. About 30 minutes into the call, I asked a neighbor if she knew the child and the whereabouts of her parents, and she said “yes.” She proceeded to call the parents and then made contact with deputies.
During the hour-long investigation, several vehicles arrived on scene and the child was handed back and forth to different unknown individuals. It was clear by some of their actions that our presence was not welcome, as displayed by the hand gesture pictured below.
We spoke to Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Michael Terry who said, “the Parents were working in Citrus County and left the child with a babysitter. The babysitter had to leave, so she took the child a few houses down to [her] mother’s house.” Terry further stated, “The babysitter’s mother placed the child down for a nap but she woke up left the house without her knowledge.” Terry says the woman was out looking for the child when deputies arrived on scene, however, RNRF was on scene within seconds of the call and we didn’t notice anyone searching for the child and neither did several deputies.” There were also no reports to 911 of a missing toddler during the entire incident.
I asked Terry if the Department of Children and Families would be called to investigate the incident but he said, “since it did not involve the parents, rather the babysitter, the incident would not be reported to DCF.”
There are no further details available at this time.
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