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Toddler left alone 8 hours, police say

London Free Press, APRIL KEMICK, Free Press Reporter, June 9, 2004

A young London mother is charged with abandoning a child after a 23-month-old boy was left alone for eight hours in a highrise apartment unit, police said yesterday. The woman, 25, was arrested Monday, nearly a week after a Children's Aid Society worker made an unannounced visit June 1 to an apartment on King Edward Avenue and determined the boy was alone.

London police were called and entered the residence. Officers found the child alone with a small dog in the highrise apartment unit, Const. Paul Martin said.

The child was taken into custody by the Children's Aid Society.

"The residence was . . . in quite significant disarray," Martin said yesterday.

The patio door of the apartment was slightly open, posing a potentially catastrophic risk to the child, he added.

"We think (the door was open) to allow the dog out," he said.

Martin said the woman -- whose identity cannot be revealed -- was familiar to Children's Aid because of a similar, recent complaint about her leaving the child unattended in a vehicle.

A concerned citizen called police less than two weeks ago to complain about the unattended infant and police notified Children's Aid, he said.

"The Children's Aid Society showed up at the residence (on June 1) on an unannounced visit . . . as a result of a prior incident," Martin said.

The infant was right in front of the door when police entered the apartment last week, he said.

Martin couldn't comment on the child's physical or emotional state when police arrived, but said a medical examination administered later through Children's Aid showed no significant medical problems.

The child's mother returned to her apartment while police were still inside investigating, Martin said.

The woman was charged with public mischief because police were given false information in the investigation, Martin said.

The woman does not have custody of any other children, he said. It is not known if she has other children.

The woman appeared in court yesterday.

Copyright The London Free Press 2001,2002,2003