A 40-year-old North Charleston woman was charged with child neglect Tuesday after a North Charleston police officer spotted a 9-year-old boy walking along the side of a busy road.
When asked why he was walking down the heavily traveled road by himself, the boy told the officer his mother had left him at Walmart, according to a police report.
The incident took place about 1:50 p.m. on International Boulevard. There is a Walmart Supercenter nearby, on Centre Pointe Drive.
The boy told the officer he was walking toward a library on Dorchester Road, the report said. When the officer asked where he lived, the boy said he lived in Dorchester Village, a mobile home park off Dorchester Road.
The officer gave him a ride home and knocked on the door.
The officer asked the boy's mother, who was lying on a couch, where her son was. She said he was home, the report said.
"I asked her to explain to me whey he was in the rear of my patrol car," the report said.
The woman told police she had been at Walmart earlier in the day and that her son had run away from her in the store.
She found him after a while, but then he ran away again when she confronted him in her car about a game-type device he had in his pocket. She chased after him in the car, telling him to get in, but he kept running away.
"She states that she returned to the store and then headed home without keeping a visual on him or knowing his whereabouts," the report said.
The woman was arrested for child neglect. During the arrest, her oldest daughter, a 20-year-old, came out of the family home and yelled profanities at the 9-year-old boy, saying it was all his fault. Police arrested her on a disorderly conduct charge.
The S.C. Department of Social Services was contacted. The 9-year-old, as well as a 7-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl, were taken into DSS custody.
Denise Nicole Garner of Waldheim Street, was charged with child neglect and taken to the Cannon Detention Center. She was released Wednesday on $1,092 bail, the jailer said.