Neighbors care for toddler found wandering alone in street

On Wednesday, a 3-year-old boy was found wandering in a street far from his home on Swinburn Street. (WCHS/WVAH)

New information has been released about a child neglect case that left a West Side neighborhood stunned.

On Wednesday, a 3-year-old boy was found wandering in a street far from his home on Swinburn Street. Neighbors said they are saddened by how much time passed before his parents even knew he was gone.

The child’s parents, Angela Searles and David Likens, have been charged with child neglect creating the risk of injury.

The distance between the boy’s home and where neighbors found him is shocking, and if it weren’t for neighbors spotting him and acting quickly, police said he could have ended up in serious danger.

On Wednesday, Junora Walton had a little more than her normal porch view.

"It was disturbing to say the least, that's the only way I can describe it,” Walton said.

Walton and the caregiver working at the home next door spotted the child and rushed to get him our of the road and cared for him until police arrived.

“Nobody ever came for him,” Walton said.

"He could have easily been struck by a moving vehicle, someone could have abducted him, so your mind just races with the possibilities of the dangers this little boy was in,” Charleston Police Department Public Information Officer Lt. Autumn Davis said.

When police found the boy’s home, it was clear just how far he had traveled before being found in the 800 block of Watts Street.

They discovered he had been left in the care of his parents’ acquaintance, who admitted to police that he is a meth user and the child’s parents are drug users as well.

Davis said the home was in deplorable conditions with drug paraphernalia within the child’s reach.

"Doing your part as a parent, caring for your children, if you are putting them in the care of someone else certainly you wouldn't want to put them in the care of a known drug user,” Davis said.

Child Protective Services took custody of the child and it wasn’t until nine hours later that his father came home from work to his son missing and called the police.

"There's a lot of things that go on further up the hill, I just kind of stay in my own spot sit on my porch but if something comes my way I certainly react to it,” Walton said.

On Wednesday, she was in her spot at just the right time.

"I'm really grateful and I pray that he finds somewhere that somebody can care for him,” Walton said. “I told him, I said I'll never forget your pretty little face with those big brown eyes, and I never will forget him either."

The child is still in the care of CPS and his parents are being housed in the Central Regional Jail.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off