Mother charged with leaving kids in motel

Shanda Rucker

A 26-year-old mother was arrested Tuesday after she left her three children, 5 and younger, alone at a motel while she visited the Department of Family and Children Services, police said.

Deputies were called to the Augusta Budget Inn, 441 Broad St., about 9 a.m. after a McDuffie County DFCS employee reported the children – ages 2, 4 and 5 – had been left alone.

Shanda Iviey Rucker, of Warrenton, initially told police she left the children with a woman at the motel while she hitched a ride to the DFCS office on Fenwick Street.

Rucker later told authorities she left the children alone in the motel room because it “wasn’t safe to walk the kids on the busy street.”

A McDuffie County DFCS employee told police Rucker had called the Children’s Protective Hotline around 3 a.m. Tuesday and left a message asking for assistance. The report did not specify the assistance Rucker requested. The employee returned the call about 9 a.m. and discovered that Rucker’s children were alone.

She was booked into the Richmond County jail on three counts of deprivation of a minor.

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