Free-Range Kids

Baby Escapes, Police Come to the Rescue. And Then They Arrest Mom.



screenshot via WRAL

Ok, let's play "You're The Cop." An 18-month-old baby is found wandering the streets of Fayetteville, North Carolina.

You respond to a call about this and learn that the child had been home with mom and dad. Mom left while dad, who works several jobs, was still sleeping. The baby slipped out and commenced wandering.

Do you:

A) Arrest the dad for sleeping while his child escaped?

B) Arrest the mom for leaving without waking the dad?

C) Decide an arrest in this case would be pointless, as neither parent was deliberately cruel or negligent, and these things happen. Kids always surprise us. Not every imperfect family moment constitutes a crime.

I'll spare you the second-guessing by reminding you of my most recent post, a discussion of the book, Blaming Mothers: American Law and the Risks to Children's Health.

So, yes, the answer is B.

Here's the article regrding the incident, from WRAL, which quotes a cop saying, as they always do, "We are very thankful because this could have been a very tragic situation, very busy time of day."

The mom faces one count of misdemeanor child neglect.

NEXT: Trump's Chicago Crime Slams: Political Posturing, Federal Overreach, or Legit Assistance?

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  1. They should just arrest people for having babies to begin with.

    1. thus wrote the spirit

  2. “I seen a little girl in the middle of the road with her pants and her shoes in her hand, and her face was all snotty and stuff,” said Courtney Thomas. “I stopped. I looked around to see any parents. I didn’t see nobody.”

    ::inventories kids in house::

    Not me. But that sounds familiar.

    1. There but for the grace of the kids wanting to go play in the fenced back yard go I.

      1. Seriously, though. I was at the park with my two a couple of months ago. Took the 1 year old to the car to grab the diaper bag and the stroller. Almost 3 year old was playing on the structure. As I walk back up (seriously, less than 2 minutes), another dad at the park says, “Hey, was that other one yours? He took off down the path. I sent my (6 or 7 year old) son to follow him.”

        That’s how you handle kids being tiny humans with quick legs, their own desires, and no experience to speak of.


    1. Furtive movements
      Hand toward the waistband of the diaper

  4. No reasonable prosecutor would bring this case as there was no criminal intent

    1. Government is infested with unreasonable peons, unfortunately.

      1. Trump needs to get that pink slip machine fired up sooner than later.

        1. Yep, and go after bad cops and prosecutors like he has so often promised.

          1. That’s what Sessions is for. And we’ll soon learn that marijuana is to blame for all of this.

    2. Mens rea only applies to our Betters. Even when they break laws that specifically have no mens rea requirements. I’m not referring to anyone or anything in particular…

  5. Children will do this. If you take your eye off of them for just a few seconds, they have uncanny escape skills. I remember the last time I was in a mall with my daugher and granddaughter, who is 3. She was only 2 at the time. I was watching her watch her mom looking at a clothing rack. As soon as she saw her mom get distracted for maybe 5 seconds and let down her guard, she made a run for it. To where she thought she was going, I don’t have a clue, but I quickly apprehend her. This is what kids do. It’s some sort of sport for them.

    Have any of these authoritarian pricks in these stories ever raised children?

    1. No, and yet, they aim for all of us to be their children.

    2. When I was old enough to be pretty ambulatory but too young to remember, the family dog managed to unlatch the gate out back and, apparently, I grabbed his collar and began walking him up the street toward a busy avenue a few houses over. A bike courier grabbed me and took me door to door until he found my parents. Number of arrests: 0. I wonder how much better off I’d be if my folks had done some time for it.

      1. Penalties are necessary, otherwise the proles might get the idea that it’s okay to let these things happen accidentally. It’s time to abolish accidents.

      2. One of my earlier memories was of me and one of my cousins hiding in a closet to freak out our parents. They must have opened that door at least 3 times and didn’t see us. Which sent us into uncontolled bouts of giggling, but they somehow didn’t hear us. They wound up finally calling the cops and reporting us missing because our parents and neighbors had been combing the neighborhood for us half the day. I think I was maybe 4 or 5 at the time. We found this to be hysterical but parents didn’t seem to get it. Anyway, no arrests. Amazing. In fact, we probably did at least a thousand things growing up that would have gotten the state involved today.

        1. Yeah, my kids (4 and 2) just started that game with us. But there’s hope: The older one is already suspicious enough of police (“they wake up babies in the middle of the night–not nice”) that perhaps “Do you want Daddy to get pistol-whipped by a policeman?” will deter that kind of behavior.

          1. You should probably pistol-whip the 4 year old so she or he has some empathy.

          2. Wait until they’re teenagers and start running with kids who tell them exactly how to manipulate mom and dad into doing anything they want. My kid sister learned from her friends to claim that my dad beat her. So after having to sort out the state-led shitstorm that followed, the only proper response was to cut her off from contact with said friends.

            Raised her with a princess complex due to my mom never wanting her to get punished for anything she did wrong. Good times.

        2. A major factor in all this is the birth dearth. Children are scarcer now, so valued more highly, & treated like endangered species.

    3. Have any of these authoritarian pricks in these stories ever raised children?

      They seem to be operating under the delusion that they have ~320 million of them.

  6. Obviously the problem here is that the cops are not equipped with handcuffs for babies.

    1. Loitering, resisting arrest, blocking traffic without a permit.

      1. Failure to produce identification on command = resisting arrest = hate crime = procedures were followed = good shoot

        1. Baby Lives Matter

      1. Warlocks?

    2. You say too few handcuffs for babies, I say not enough free handouts for pre-K “education”. Toe-may-toe/Toe-mah-toe.

      1. If I remember correctly, Obama wanted to start institutionalizing these little anarchists at age 3. It’s Trump’s fault.

    3. *instructs orphans to pause stacking proggy tear barrels and start making tiny handcuffs*

      1. If you pause the barrel stacking, even for a moment, I don’t think you will ever catch up.

        1. *pssst* distilling, you can thank me later

    4. “Excuse me, officer, but did you really just zip-tie an infant’s hands behind its back?”

      “Of course. Did you want me to hog tie the kid like they do in one of those racist flyover states?”

    5. Necks would work.

      1. But hmmmm, will cop cars need baby seats now? Couldn’t give ’em no Baltimore ride, now, could they?

  7. They are still parents while they’re sleeping. Parents have responsibility for their children. They cannot fulfill that responsibility while sleeping. Ergo, parents may never sleep again.

    1. That’s been my experience.

      1. That’s been my wife’s experience. I’ve been ok.

        1. Neither of us have slept in three years.

          1. *Googles “sleep psychosis”. Nods knowingly*

      2. These children’s parents awoke to find that their children had become racists while they rested.

        Don’t let it happen to your family. We must fight for the imprisonment of negligent parents. Stay woke.

  8. They obviously should have arrested the baby.

    1. Look Who’s Talking Behind Bars, the new uproariously funny comedy in theaters this summer.

      1. Why are all of these mini-vans in the cinema parking lot?

    2. If the child wandered into traffic, the cops could have arrested her child trafficking.

    3. I would watch the hell out of Baby COPS

      1. ? Whatcha gonna do when oochi goochie ga-ga, goo-goo? ?

        1. To be clear, I mean cops arresting babies, not baby cops. That wouldn’t work — no object permanence yet.

          “Put down the gun!”
          *perp hides gun behind back*
          “OK all clear here.”

          1. Adults say “oochi goochi” when tickling babies, and the babies say “ga-ga, goo-goo.”

            Show would probably get canceled after a cop shoots a baby for “assault with a deadly diaper” and the department rules it a good shoot.

            1. “Do you mind if I search your stroller? It’s for your own safety.”

              1. “Oooo ya boo doo ga la-ya.”

                *Pounds on the table dramatically* Damn it, boys, this one’s lawyered up. *sneers condescendingly*.

                1. “Detective, the little girl over in interrogation room C wants her interrogator to participate in her tea party.”

                  “Fucking Tea Party. I bet she asked if she’s being detained, too. I’ll be over in a bit to break her, just let me deal with this one first.”

                  *Stares down infant seated in a high chair in front of him.*

                  “I’ll get you talk if it’s the last thing I do.”

                  1. “Look, my partner is a little on edge. I can talk him down but you need to work with us. What if I offered you this plush toy rabbit? Who wants the wabbit? Who wants the wabbit?”

  9. Problem: Mom isn’t watching the kid.
    Solution: Take Mom into custody.

    This plan could use some work.

    1. Yeah. Even if this were crime-worthy (and it’s not) it could have been handled with a fine.

  10. “An impoverished 2-parent household?!? We can’t be having that, they might climb out one day!! To jail with you!” – The State

  11. Lt. Todd Joycewearing high heels as part of some stunt.

    1. If he’s wearing women’s shoes, who will check his birth certificate when he tries to use the men’s room? Who?!?!? WE MUST KNOW?!?!?

  12. I escaped when I was 14 months old. My Mom called the cops and they found me 3 yards over with a handful of sticks I had been collecting. I was missing for a bit less than three hours. No one was arrested. There are some amusing photos for evidence. This was in Cranston, RI.

  13. Fun fact: The Fayettville, AR police department employs this charming fellow.

  14. My three year old cousin was able to get into my Aunt’s Datsun, put it in neutral/reverse and get it down an icy driveway into the street Christmas Day 1974. Shaker Heights police were not notified; no arrests made.

    1. Yeah, and the ’70s were an anarchic hell-scape with murder rates through the roof compared to today. /sarc

  15. The Dad finally awoke to gunshots when, after returning the baby home, the police then shot the family dog.

  16. What do you expect when there is a War on Women?

    1. I imagine that scene from V for Vendetta where all the Guy-Fawkes-masked public stand outside of parliament awaiting the explosion, except it’s people in pussy hats and the White House.

      V for Vagina.

  17. I don’t live very far from Fayetteville. Not sure if anyone remembers but several months ago I shared on here an incident where my neighbors’ kids were in their yard unattended early in the morning. Kids were in their bed clothes and screwing around in their car; honking the horn, flashing lights, etc. Went and knocked on the door no answer, the shades were all drawn and couldn’t see in. Had no idea if they were there, asleep, dead so we called the cops. I wasn’t going to go breaking into a door without there being some danger or need to I could identify. We keep an eye on their kids and a sheriff’s deputy rolls up. They do that super loud “cop knock” and the father answers the door.

    I think he got a stern talking-to and we got an apology from the parents later that day.

    1. You definitely did the right thing in that situation. There was a situation near here that happened years ago (back when there was less publicity about hot car deaths) where three preschool-age kids all died when they got stuck in their mom’s car and the neighbor just put a note on the door when the mom didn’t answer.

  18. Baby Escapes, Police Come to the Rescue. And Then They Arrest Mom.

    Come on, we all know why at this point: Because fuck mom, that’s why.

    1. Not even a euphemism. I award you no points, and may the commentariat have mercy on your soul.

      1. may the commentariat have mercy on your soul

        Oh shit, I’m boned.

  19. Normally I’m with Lenore, but not this time when she asserts that the parents weren’t negligent.

    From what I read here, it seems obvious to me they were negligent. Anyone who’s a parent knows you can’t leave an 18-month-old kid alone while you sleep. The mom leaving and the dad sleeping seem like textbook examples of how to endanger a kid that age.

    1. I’m sure the child will be much better off with mom in jail…

      And the family will be in much better financial condition when mom can’t get a job because of her criminal record all because of a single instance of poor judgement.

      1. Yeah, then the kid will be guaranteed to have no one else around when the father is asleep!

      2. I didn’t speak to the jail thing. Lenore went further and said they weren’t negligent.

        I think the State needs to have some limited power to protect the rights of children. I agree arrest was probably too much. But it seems clear to me that this is a case where the state is right to step in and see what’s going on with the parenting skills here.

        This is not a minor thing that you should just brush off and say fuck the cops or fuck CPS. If an 18-month-old is outside wandering around by herself, you have failed as a parent. This isn’t a 9-year-old walking a mile to mall.

        1. “See what’s up with the parenting skills here”

          Ok, fuck you.

          1. What the fuck is your problem? I’ve noticed something – the moment someone does the slightest bit of defending the actions of the cops or the government, out come the fuck yous. No, we must not have a discussion of that kind!

            Do you have kids? Do you think the state should even have CPS or not?

            Yeah, kids are going to get out of sight sometimes, but in this case the parents didn’t know she was gone. (From the news story, the mom left without telling the dad she was leaving.) This was a big problem and the child was definitely endangered. What’s the right response? I don’t know, but I don’t think it should be nothing.

            I love Lenore’s reporting. But in this case, I think her zeal for her cause made her breezily dismiss a real problem.

            1. No, the state shouldn’t have CPS. The idea that the state knows better than parents is evil. How did this work before this shit existed? The world got along fine without the state getting involved in these issues. Let me know when real crimes are committed, not BS ones invented by the state. I feel for children with shitty parents. But, if that’s all they are – shitty parents – it’s right for friends and family to help, not men with guns. I don’t want the state deciding who’s parenting properly. It’s sinister.

    2. Yeah, parents never sleep! Right? RIGHT???

      1. Single parents are the devil.

      2. Yeah, no. Not when there’s an 18 month old running around.

        1. This… is moronic. I’m sorry, it really is. As if the 18 month old is some kind of rampaging monster that needs subduing. Maybe mom thought the kid was still sleeping. Maybe the kid *was* still sleeping until she left. Maybe I’m missing some of the facts, but sleeping while thinking your kid is sleeping is actually quite normal, last I checked.

          1. Well now you’re just making up details to support your case that this is no big deal. If the baby was taking a nap that changes things a little, but not much in my view.

            I’m sure there are details that neither of us know. I was basing my comments on what was in Lenore’s post.

            1. But you don’t know either, and jumped to conclusions that she screwed up. For all we know, dad was still awake when she left, but he fell asleep. We don’t know, and, really, it’s none of our fucking business.

  20. Calling the police is against the law

  21. I think the alt-text escaped.

  22. I lean very far to the side of parental rights. When I was 10 and my sister was 7, we would ride our bikes 10 or so miles across a SF Bay Area city and I want my children to have the same freedom. With that said, these parents did screw up big time and while they shouldn’t receive jail time or have their child taken away, they do need a pretty strong slap on the wrist.

  23. What if it was a 1-parent family, & the parent was sleeping? What if it was a 2-parent family & both were sleeping? What if it was a 3-parent family…?

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