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Mum Faces Prison After Leaving Her Daughter, 14, To Babysit Siblings

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Mum Faces Prison After Leaving Her Daughter, 14, To Babysit Siblings

A mum who went to work and left her 14-year-old daughter in charge of her three siblings is now facing up to a year in prison

Melissa Henderson, from Blairsville, Georgia, went back to work in May 2020, while school and daycare centres were still closed due to the pandemic, and she tasked her eldest daughter with looking after the three younger children. 

But at some point during the day, her four-year-old son got out and made his way to a neighbour’s house to play with a friend. 

When the teen realised he was missing, she went outside to look and found him but the neighbour had already called the police, Fox reports

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Credit: Facebook
Credit: Facebook

After explaining the situation, Henderson said cops initially seemed satisfied. However, a week later a ‘whole fleet’ of officers from the Union County Sheriff’s office appeared at her door and charged her with reckless conduct. 

She told Fox: “They handcuffed me, drove me to jail, booked me, had me put in a cell. It was awful. It was embarrassing. 

"It makes me feel hopeless, just now feeling like you can get back to providing, get back to normal. They took away every option that I even have." 

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Henderson was taken to the county jail where she says she was ‘curling up in a ball in the corner and just wanting to hide’. She was later bailed by her ex-husband. 

If convicted, Henderson faces a maximum of one-year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. 

Speaking in 2020, David DeLugas, the founder of ParentsUSA who is representing Henderson, told Fox the incident had left his client scared to return to work. 

Credit: Facebook
Credit: Facebook
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He said: "It has such a chilling effect where now Melissa is afraid she can never leave her children home alone, even for a short period of time, even with the now 15-year-old daughter in charge of the other kids, because she could get arrested again. 

"It has a chilling impact on everybody in the state who hears about this type of thing."

DeLugas is now hoping to have the case dismissed, Reason reports. He he also set up a GoFundMe for Henderson.

The Union County District Attorney’s office told 11Alive that the May 2020 incident was the second time the four-year-old was outside alone in the last 12 months. 

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According to Georgia Department of Human Service's guidelines, state children who are 13 or older can look after siblings for up to 12 hours.

LADbible has reached out to the Union County Sheriff’s office for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Facebook

Topics: US News, Crime

Claire Reid
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