Mom accused of neglecting toddler

OKEECHOBEE — The repeat of an incident in which an 18-month-old child was found wandering about his neighborhood was just too much for Detective Jack Boon last week.

So, the Okeechobee City Police Department (OCPD) investigator arrested the boy’s mother Friday on a felony charge of child neglect.

Kristie Lynn Brown, 31

Kristie Lynn Brown, 31, N.E. Eighth Ave., was then booked into the Okeechobee County Jail on a bond of $2,500. Jail records show she has been released on bond.

The detective’s arrest report indicated the first incident occurred around 1 p.m. on April 4 when another neighborhood resident saw the boy “… wandering the streets unsupervised.” Apparently, the toddler had made his way outside by opening a sliding door and a baby gate on the screened porch.

The sliding door, continued the detective’s report, had a small hole drilled at the top where a rod can be inserted to prevent the door from being opened.

According to Detective Boon, the mother assured him she would buy new locks and have them installed by the next day.

However, those locks were not installed, stated the detective, and the boy once again opened the door and gate on April 25 and left the home.

The father, continued the report, was asleep on the couch at the time and did not know when the child left the home.

When the child was located he was clad only in a T-shirt, noted Detective Boon, who added the boy was not wearing shoes or a diaper.

The detective then noted he returned to the home on April 26 to find the locks had not been installed.

Detective Boon went on point out that he interviewed neighbors and other residents of the neighborhood. One neighbor reportedly told him on more than one occasion they had seen the toddler outside the home and under the supervision of his 7-year-old brother.

Another resident told the investigator they have seen the children in the yard playing while Brown sat on the front porch and watched them.

However, the resident reportedly continued, there have been times those children came to the resident’s home to play and “… the mom was not around,” noted Detective Boon.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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