WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. -- West Memphis Police arrested a couple Wednesday and charged each with endangering the welfare of a minor. Police said Christopher Poindexter, 19, and Savannah Loggains, 20, left their baby in its carrier in a restaurant parking lot and drove away.
"This is the side where he set the baby down and then he backed out,” said Rose Love, manager of the West Memphis Krystal location.
Love said a customer came inside and let them know there was a baby carrier with a child in it sitting alone in the parking lot.
Love said the father called 15 minutes later. She had already called police.
She said the incident was disturbing.
“I mean really you just drive away and leave your baby and then call and say, ‘I think I left him.’ I mean, look in the backseat. Your child is not there,” she said.
Police said when they got to the parking lot they tried to call state authorities to take care of the baby. But no one answered their calls.
"My officers went through the entire list of contacts and were never able to get a response from [the Division of Child and Family Services]. I personally called the area supervisor and was unable to get a response from her,” Capt. Joe Baker said.
He also said it had happened before with DCFS officials. He had a message for authorities in Little Rock.
"When we call, do the job you’ve been hired to do. It’s a public agency. Do the job the public expects you do," Baker said.
Police said they released the baby to its grandmother.
The baby's parents are expected in Crittenden County district court for an arraignment Friday morning.
Police also charged Poindexter with possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.
Dept. of Human Services spokesperson Amy Webb released the following statement to WREG about the incident:
"It was an unfortunately confluence of events that resulted in police not getting a returned call for two and half hours. We certainly never want law enforcement to wait that long and we want to do everything we can to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
In fact, a few months ago, our staff sat down with West Memphis police and we jointly developed a communication process that outlined who to call when DCFS is needed. The plan included numbers for four employees so that police would have options if the first person was unavailable. In this particular situation, the first person was on leave, the next two people in line were in an interview together when police tried to call them and the last person did not have cell service at the time the call was placed to her. However, the police chief did reach and speak to the Area Director about two and half hours after the first call was placed. The head of DCFS also called the chief an hour later to assure him we’d address the issue. It is clear in this particular situation the communication process we jointly developed did not work well so we are looking at alternatives. We will continue to work hard to show that we are trying to be good partners with law enforcement."