A Roland woman is facing a felony charge of child neglect, police records indicate.
Shonda Stafford, 32, faces up to life in the Department of Corrections, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
On July 26, a Roland police officer was dispatched to a residence in reference to an child screaming in one of the apartments. The reporting party said the child’s mother had left him inside the house alone. She told police she had seen the mother leave the child alone several times and had told management about it, but they had done nothing.
An officer knocked on the apartment door but no one answered. The officer then opened the apartment’s unlocked door and discovered a 5-year-old child buckled into a stroller. The child was completely alone inside.
Once it was determined there was no adult watching the child, police called the Department of Human Services to respond to the case. While they were waiting for DHS to arrive, Stafford returned home.
Stafford told police she had gone to visit a friend to make an emergency phone call and had been gone “10 minutes, tops,” but officers had been with the child longer than that. Stafford said she had put a movie on for the child to watch while she was gone, but when police arrived the movie’s end credits were rolling and the 104-minute film was over, showing that the child had been alone at least two hours.
Stating that time must have just got away from her, Stafford gave her phone to police to show them the emergency call she’d made. Her phone records did not coincide with her claims, however.
The officers told Stafford of the dangers of leaving her special needs child alone and she said she was sorry and that it wouldn’t happen again.
Based on the evidence of child neglect, Stafford was placed under arrest.
Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer
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