CAMDEN, S.C. -- Kershaw County Sheriff's Department arrested 23-year-old Taquanna Salklie Thomas on Monday for unlawful neglect of a child after a witness saw Thomas' child walking down US Highway 1 by himself on Sunday evening.
Early Monday morning Kershaw County deputies were dispatched to the Pine Ridge Apartments in Elgin, S.C. after an off-duty law enforcement officer called Kershaw County dispatch and explained that he was woken up by a 4-year-old African American boy knocking on his door. The boy told the officer that he could not find his parents.
When deputies talked to the child, it appeared that he was in good health and taken care of. The boy was taken to Kershaw Health for a full evaluation.
After the child was cleared and released from the hospital, he was placed in Department of Social Services custody.
Deputies then received a call from Kershaw County dispatch letting the deputies know that the mother of the boy, Taquanna Thomas, was at the Blaney Fire Department in Elgin trying to determine the whereabouts of her son.
Deputies proceeded to the fire department where they interviewed Thomas.
Thomas stated that while driving around trying to get her son to go to sleep, she became sleepy herself and pulled off the road before she herself fell asleep.
She advised that her child was still awake when she fell asleep. Some time later she woke up and discovered that her son was not in the vehicle and that he had apparently let himself out.
Thomas said she looked around the immediate area and could not locate him so she drove to her home, 16 miles away on Lovett Rd. to retrieve her driver’s license. She then returned to the Elgin area where she met with Emergency Medical Services at the Blaney Fire Department and talked to the crew that had actually transported her son to Kershaw Health.
The deputy that responded to the Blaney Fired Department ultimately arrested Thomas and charged her with unlawful neglect of a child. She was transported to the Kershaw County Detention Center and will appear before a judge for a bond hearing.
During a follow-up interview on Monday, a Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office investigator spoke with Ms. Thomas. He asked her why she had not contacted 911 when she couldn’t find her little boy.
She replied that she had just moved to Kershaw County and was living a relatively unstable life and was afraid that her son would be taken from her.
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