Toddler Wanders Outside
Updated: Friday, March 8 2013, 09:49 PM EST
CHILLICOTHE – A two-year-old was found wandering by itself in the cold Thursday night in just a diaper, now the child’s mother and father are charged with child endangerment charges.
Christina Wolford says as she and her daughters left Cavalier Skating Rink on Pleasant Valley Road around 9 p.m., one of her daughters heard crying coming from across the road.
“Sure enough I could make out this little baby standing there with nothing on but a diaper,” Wolford said. “No shoes, no clothes, just a diaper.”
Wolford says as she approached the child, she was couldn’t believe what she saw. The child was freezing cold, in a soiled diaper, and the parents were nowhere to be found.
“He was seemed so relieved to see somebody,” Wolford said. “He was so scared. So I picked him up and he quit crying but his nose was running, he had tears running down his cheeks, his cheeks were all red and his nose was red. It looked like he'd been outside for a while. And he was just sobbing.”
She called police and took the child into her parent's rollerskating rink to get him warm.
“His little feet, I kept trying to warm them with my hands because they were just like little cakes of ice they were so cold,” Wolford said. “The only thing he did understand was, 'where's mommy?' He looked at me and said, 'I don't know.'"
The Ross County Sherriff's office says the child's mom is 25-year-old Christine Buckalew. She and the child's father, Douglas Botts, came home later that night.
Investigators say Buckalew told them she left the child sleeping at home to go "watch movies at a friend’s house." And that “she’d been under a lot of stress lately.”
Children’s Services took custody of the child and Buckalew and Botts were both charged with child endangering. We found an emotionally distraught Buckalew on Friday night as she pulled out of her driveway. Through tears she said she feels terrible and that she made a mistake.
“I just can't understand why someone would do that, would leave a child that young to, anything could have happened to him,” Wolford said. “I mean if he'd gone a few more feet he'd have been in the road.”
This is a copy of the news release from the Ross County Sheriff’s Office:
Sheriff Lavender reports that his office was called to the area of 14983 Pleasant Valley Road in reference to a small child wandering around alone wearing only a diaper 03/07/2013 at approximately 8:53 p.m. Deputies arrived at the scene and spoke to witnesses who found the child wandering alone.
The child was taken into a nearby roller skating rink to be kept warm until E.M.S. personnel arrived. The child was checked and found to be fine. Deputies contacted Children’s Services and a case worker arrived at the scene to take custody of the child.
While deputies were still at the scene a vehicle occupied by 23 year old Douglas M. Botts (Mr. Botts) and 25 year old Christine A. Buckalew (Mrs. Buckalew) pulled up. The two were identified as the parents of the child who was found to be 2 years old.
Mrs. Buckalew told deputies that she had left the child asleep at her residence at 14983 Pleasant Valley Road to go “hang out and watch movies at a friend’s house”. Mrs. Buckalew said that “she had been under a lot of stress lately and had made a poor decision.”
Mrs. Buckalew and Mr. Botts were arrested and charged with child endangering and transported to the Ross County Jail awaiting arraignment.
Reporter: Adam Aaro