A local couple faces felony child neglect charges after their 3-year-old son was found wandering in the parking lot of a business off Sparta Street wearing only a pair of shorts.
The parents, Mikella M. Garcia, 22, and Ladonta D. Hall, 24, are both charged with child neglect of a child under 8 which is a Class E felony carrying one to two years in prison.
Their charges come after their son was found in the parking lot of NHC Homecare. A manager there alerted police.
“He was wearing only a pair of shorts, no shirt or shoes, and the temperature was 85 degrees and sunny,” said McMinnville policeman Richard Teachout, noting the parking lot is next to heavily traveled Sparta Street.
Nearly half an hour after the child was first seen in the parking lot, Garcia came to inquire about her child. When asked why the child was wandering alone, the mother told the officer she had instructed an 18-year-old friend to watch the children while she and her their father went to the store. However, during later questioning, the alleged teen babysitter denied being asked to watch the children. Although she was at the residence where the parents lived, she said she didn’t even know they had left the residence.
During their visit to the home, police also discovered a 2-year-old inside the home who was asleep in a bedroom there.