Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Woman went to buy shampoo, left child home alone, cops say.

Click here for video of this Milton Georgia story.

By David Ibata The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Milton woman was arrested and charged with reckless conduct after allegedly she left her 4-year-old child by himself when she went to a Target to buy shampoo -- the second reported instance this week of young children being left home alone in metro Atlanta.

Diana Vidal Garcia, 30, was arrested Monday afternoon and taken to Fulton County Jail. She posted $3,000 bond and was released Tuesday, according to jail records.

A painter working about 1 p.m. Monday at the Camden Apartments at 13200 Summit Boulevard spotted a young boy by himself, climbing on the patio railing of a first-floor unit, according to a Milton Police Department incident report.

The painter alerted the complex’s maintenance manager, who went to the unit, saw the boy alone and called police. A responding officer found the child sitting on a couch in the apartment.

“The child had white paint all over his arms, legs and clothes,” the officer said in his report. “The child was not scared and appeared to be in good health.”

The report did not say where the boy got the paint but noted a brush and can of paint on the floor of the patio, “where the child advised he was painting with the supplies.”

The apartment complex made phone contact with the mother and asked her to return to speak with police. She arrived home about 20 minutes after police arrived and told the officer her son was sleeping when she left to buy shampoo.

Milton police Capt. Shawn McCarty told Channel 2 Action News, “The story [Garcia] gave us is that she left the child at home when she went to Target, which is a block away. But it seems like the child was there for quite some time."

In any event, McCarty said, leaving so young a child alone "isn't appropriate, especially when they have access to get out of the apartment and do things that are dangerous or run out in the street."

During the investigation, the officer also discovered Garcia was wanted on an active warrant for contempt of court in Forsyth County, police said.

Garcia was taken into custody, and the child was left with his biological father, Juan Pedro Montanez, police said. Another child of Garcia’s, an 8-year-old daughter, was at school at the time of the incident and was to return home to Montanez’s custody.

In an interview with Channel 2, Montanez defended Garcia, saying the arrest was a mistake.

“She’s a good mother,” Montanez said. “She just go to buy some meal, and the boy was sleeping.”

Channel 2’s efforts to contact the mother Tuesday were unsuccessful. The state Division of Family and Children Services was notified about the incident.

Separately, a Fulton County judge set bond at $45,000 Tuesday for Lynn Danielle Warner, charged with cruelty to children and reckless conduct after she allegedly left three small children ranging in age from 8 months to 2 years old alone in a northwest Atlanta apartment.

About 5:45 a.m. Monday, a security guard at the complex on Rhodes Street noticed one child at the top of a stairs and another child at the bottom, police said. Officers found three children total in an apartment and took them to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding, where they were checked and were found to be healthy.

About 8 a.m., Warner called 911 to say her children were missing, police said. The 25-year-old woman was arrested and remained in custody Tuesday night at Fulton County Jail, jail records showed.

--Staff writer Mike Morris contributed to this report.

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