Small child found wandering street unattended

OKEECHOBEE — Upon finding a small child walking in the middle of the street with no adult supervision, a concerned citizen stopped to help.

The man was traveling north on N.E. 18th Ave when he encountered the child, according to the report filed by Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office Deputy James Hartsfield. The small girl was only wearing a shirt and panties, and the concerned citizen picked her up for her own safety. She could not provide her name and only stated that she was 4-years-old.

The man stated that he had never seen the child before, but while he was waiting for the deputy to arrive, he had allegedly seen a woman wearing a pink shirt step out to the end of her driveway and look toward him. He then stated that the unknown woman walked back to her residence.

According to the report, the residence was located about 300 yards to the north of where the child was found.

Roberta Carnley

As the man filled out his witness statement, a white Dodge car pulled up, and a woman stepped out. She identified herself as the mother of the child, and provided the child’s name and birthdate. She indicated to the deputy that she had left the child with a babysitter, Roberta Carnley, while she picked up her boyfriend from work.

When asked if Carnley knew that she was babysitting the child, the mother responded yes. She went on to state that she had received a call at 5:37 p.m. from Carnley, who said that she could not find the child. The mother advised her not to panic and look for the child. She stated she was rushing back home when she spotted the child, man and deputy.

The mother told the deputy that her daughter was in the living room with Carnley and watched her leave the yard. She indicated that Carnley resides with her and babysits her daughter as needed for part of her rent.

After that, the deputy responded to the residence to speak with Carnley.

She was wearing a pink shirt, as the concerned citizen had described earlier.

Based on phone records, Carnley allegedly did not know the child’s whereabouts for a minimum of 19 minutes. She also reportedly never contacted the Sheriff’s Office to request assistance or report the child missing.

She was arrested on a felony charge of child neglect.

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