North Augusta Mother Charged With Unlawful Conduct Towards A Child
A North Augusta mother is in jail after witnesses say she left her nine-year-old daughter at a nearby park, for hours at a time, more than once.
The mother, Debra Harrell has been booked for unlawful conduct towards a child.
The incident report goes into great detail, even saying the mother confessed to leaving her nine-year-old daughter at a park while she went to work.
The little girl is fine, but some say an area the mother thought was safe could have turned dangerous.
It’s an afternoon of fun in the water at Summerfield Park in North Augusta, but investigators say it wasn’t enjoyable for one little girl.
Public Safety investigators say 46-year-old Debra Harrell confessed to leaving her nine-year-old daughter alone in the park for several house while she went to work.
“I understand the mom may have been in a difficult situation, not having someone to watch the child, but at the same time, you’ve got to find somebody,” said Lesa Lamback, who enjoys the park with her family.
Police say Harrell’s daughter told a witness that her mother would drop her off all the time to play at the park while Harrell was at work.
According to the incident report, the 9-year-old little girl says she would come to the McDonald’s inside a Walmart for lunch, which is about a mile and a half walk from the park where she was found.
“Some people may look at it as a babysitter,” said Tonya Cullum.
Cullum works at Sara’s Childcare and Preschool.
She says they found that during the summer months, their attendance numbers go down.
Cullum said, “the parents can’t afford to keep them in there. They have to keep in during school time because we pick them up at school, make sure they got a safe place, but during the summertime, it’s like find some family, grandparents or even let them stay home by themselves.”
Harrell’s daughter is okay, but some say things could have been worse.
Cullum said, “what if a man would have came and just snatched her because you have all kinds of trucks that come up in here so you really don’t know.”
Lamback said, “you cannot just leave your child alone at a public place, especially. This day and time, you never know who’s around. Good, bad, it’s just not safe.”
The girl is in the custody of the Department of Social Services.
Somebody did snatch her – CPS. I’ve seen other stories similar to this, in one case a neighbor got annoyed with kids riding their Big Wheels up and down the sidewalk and called the cops who arrested the mother because she wasn’t watching them the whole time.
My whole childhood must have been illegal, I went to the park or friends or the library or bike riding.
PS – you notice the go-to person for the story is a day-care provider? Gee, she doesn’t have a vested interest in wanting kids supervised at all times.