A yellow object reflecting in her passenger’s side mirror caught a woman’s attention as she started to back up in her vehicle Monday morning in the 1200 block of Third Street.
She realized the yellow object was a child’s shirt, and, she told police, she’d nearly backed over two unattended children, ages 3 1/2 and 1.
The 31-year-old woman summoned police, who arrested the adults in charge of the children. Kalen Strickland, 31, and Kimberly Baker, 23, were booked into the Brown County Jail on charges of abandoning/endangering a child, jail records state.
The woman who called the police told officer Brandon Johnson she stopped and got out of her vehicle after nearly backing over the children, and caught up to them as they walked away, Johnson’s report states. The children were walking on a sidewalk next to Third Street, which was heavily traveled.
The older child, a boy, took the woman to his home, also in the 1200 block of Third. The boy opened the door and walked inside, and the woman leaned in and shouted for the children’s guardian. No one replied. The woman noticed a 6-month-old girl lying face-down on a couch cushion the floor, and she called the police.
When Johnson arrived, he asked the boy if his parents were home. The boy nodded “yes” and motioned for Johnson to enter. Johnson found a man and a woman sleeping in a bedroom, and he shouted for them to wake up and come talk to him about their children.
The two said they had been sleeping and were unaware the children were awake or had left the home. The woman said she’d taken medication that makes her drowsy and she thought the man would take care of the children while she slept. Both seemed more concerned about being arrested than about their children’s safety, Johnson’s report states.
CPS was contacted, and an investigator from the agency arrived. The top railing on the 6-month-old girl’s crib had fly-covered excrement, and food in a skillet on the stove appeared to have been there for several days, Johnson’s report states.
Trash was scattered through the home, and food crumbs and dirty dishes were on high chairs and floors. All three children were dirty and partially clothed, Johnson’s report states.
CPS contacted another family member, who was allowed temporary custody of the children.