HARRISON TWP. (WWJ) – Two young Macomb County parents were charged with fourth degree child abandonment police said they left their 18-month-old son alone in what were described as “deplorable” conditions at their apartment.
Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said the situation started to unfold around 6:50 p.m. Thursday when his office received a report about a missing child.
According to police, the child’s 21-year-old mother reported that she left her son alone in her Harrison Township apartment while she was tending to her broken down vehicle. The woman told police she was checking on the child periodically but when she went back to her apartment, her son had disappeared. She said she looked in the surrounding area and asked neighbors if they knew anything, but found no signs of her son.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene and with the assistance of Eastpointe, Southfield and Roseville K-9 units, conducted a thorough search of the area but didn’t turn up any clues. Eventually, the child’s 19-year-old father came to the scene and both parents were brought to the sheriff’s office for further questioning.
“Throughout the interview process, their stories kept changing and all the red flags went up with the investigators, and actually many believed that this child may have been harmed or worse,” Wickersham said.
The parents eventually admitted to leaving the child alone while the father was driven to work in Detroit. Hours later, investigators received a phone call from the boy’s maternal grandfather, indicating that he had the child and he wanted to speak with police.
“Throughout the night, we were fearing the worst in this investigation,” Wickersham said. “But when that little boy came through the front door of the sheriff’s office, we were very relieved.”
The grandfather told police that he went to his daughter’s apartment earlier in the day, knocked on the door and received no response. He realized that the door unlocked, so he entered the apartment to find that the boy was left alone in what he indicated were “deplorable living conditions.”
“He found the baby was in his crib, left unattended with no adult supervision. So, he removed the child and took him back to his home and he was going to wait and see what type of response, reaction or what his daughter, the parents would do once they realized their child was missing,” Wickersham said.
The grandfather told police he was “totally disgusted” when he spoke to his daughter and she didn’t mention anything about her son being missing. He was later contacted by the child’s paternal grandmother, who said police had been at the apartment all evening attempting to find the child. At that time, he contacted the sheriff’s office advising that he had the boy.
“To be left alone in his crib with the door unlocked, there’s just all kinds of, I mean, you just can’t believe the types of things that went on with this investigation,” Wickersham said. “Things just weren’t adding up and once we got that call from the grandfather, we finally knew what transpired.”
Agents with Child Protective Services were at the sheriff’s office during the investigation and immediately intervened into the wellbeing of the 18-month-old and his 3-year-old sibling, both who reside at the apartment.
“That’s the thing that kind of just makes you shake your head,” Wickersham said. “They left the apartment to take the father to work in Detroit, so the mother, the father and the 3-year-old entered the car and drove to work and they left the one-and-a-half year old boy in the apartment, all alone.”
Both parents were arraigned Friday afternoon; a bond of $10,000 cash/surety was ordered for Diggs, and Woods’ was set at $2,000.