(Millington, TN) A mother and her live-in boyfriend are charged with child abuse after a five-year-old was found wandering a mile from their home in the middle of the night.
“I would be devastated if that happened to one of my children,” said Mary Acosta, who lives next door.
The Shelby County Sheriff's Office says Jocelyn Temple and her boyfriend Keith Miller forgot the girl after coming home late.
“Leaving a kid in a car, there is no excuse for that, no excuse at all,” said Tony Curtis, who lives nearby.
Around 3:00 in the morning, investigators say the girl woke up and tried to get in the house, but all the doors were locked. Unable to get back in the car, she headed to her grandparents’ house, three and a half miles away. Curtis fears the worst could have happened, “What if someone would have picked her up with ill intent, or what if someone would have picked her up and she would have been gone?”
A driver found the girl walking through a gas station parking lot, a mile down the road. He took her home and called the sheriff's office, which woke Temple as she slept. Temple told investigators that Miller was supposed to get her daughter out of the car and that she had no idea her daughter was gone.
Acosta says Temple has always been a good mother, “She's great with them. She spends a lot of time with them, activity-wise, after school and they're involved in church and everything. I'm just shocked to hear something like this happened.
But everyone is relieved the young girl made it home safely.
“I mean, a child that age, that time of the morning, walking the streets on a pitch dark street like this, anything could happen to her, I'm just glad she is safe and okay," said Acosta.
Paramedics were called to check on the five-year-old. The sheriff's office says she was not hurt, just extremely cold and wet. All three of Temple's children are now with their grandparents.
The 28-year-old mother told deputies that she had a few drinks earlier in the night.