Mother charged after baby left at McDonald's

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An Augusta woman who left her infant in the parking lot of an Evans fast-food restaurant has been charged with first-degree cruelty to children and abandonment of child, authorities said.

Harriett Hornsby Thomas, 27, of the 2400 block of Norton Drive, was arrested Saturday after the child was found at the McDonald's at 4264 Washington Road, according to a Columbia County sheriff's report.

About 50 minutes after police received a call from a witness, Mrs. Thomas' husband, Christopher, came to the restaurant. He said his wife told him she had lost the child and remembered she had gone to McDonald's.

Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said neither parent notified law enforcement or called 911.

Though Mrs. Thomas was arrested, parents in other instances are often simply warned. There is no set criteria for charging an individual in such instances, Capt. Morris said, adding that investigating officers are given discretion in filing charges.

"We take into account everything surrounding the incident at the time," he said. "In the end, was the child's health and/or well-being jeopardized? That's the key."

That's why Mrs. Thomas was charged, he said.

"We're dealing with a 6-month-old left in a carrier, in a parking lot, in the middle of July for an extended period of time," Capt. Morris said.

Capt. Morris said he encourages the public to become involved if they witness such a situation.

"Exactly what occurred in this particular case is what needs to occur in every case," Capt. Morris said. "Take responsibility; get involved; and notify proper authorities.

"It's life or death."

Mrs. Thomas was released from the Columbia County Detention Center on a $27,000 bond, according to a jailer. The infant was turned over to her grandfather by the Richmond County Division of Family and Children Services, according to the report.

Reach Jenna Martin at (706) 868-1222, ext. 109, or jenna.martin@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (76) Add comment
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0de
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0de 07/15/09 - 11:37 am
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A little paranoid and biased

A little paranoid and biased there are we Fiat? You think you have a case of slander on someone go ahead and get a law firm involved and see where that gets you fool. Nobody is trashing the mother and ruining the family's life except her, the mother (and I use that term loosely). The woman was grossly negligent and neither she nor this grand family or their vast support network bothered to report their missing/lost child to law enforcement. She should and is going to be held accountable for her actions per law enforcement and our judicial system. If people don't want their fate decided by law enforcement and the judicial system then educate yourself, take accountablility for yourself, and don't violate the laws of the land. It is quite simple.

0de
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0de 07/15/09 - 11:39 am
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I seriously doubt, however,

I seriously doubt, however, that either one of them ever considered the possibility that she had left the baby sitting in the parking lot.
Posted by Fiat_Lux on Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:34 PM ------ Then why did her husband drive all the way from south Augusta to the McDonalds in Evans? They think she left him on a table or in the restroom? Seriously.....try to be objective.

Grasshopper
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Grasshopper 07/15/09 - 11:43 am
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Ode we agree. I did forget to

Ode we agree. I did forget to buckle my kid in once, I felt terrible. My dad forgot me all the time, but I think that was on purpose.

purmkinhed
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purmkinhed 07/15/09 - 11:45 am
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Yup, just like those parents

Yup, just like those parents I see every now and then driving around without your child in a carseat. Guess what? I follow you while calling the law and get your tag number and give it to the police! Why do I do that? Well I know first hand what can happen to a child if not restrained. My beautiful 6 month old step nephew was crippled and left retarded because he was not restrained in a seat. BAM! Just like that, his life is ruined. So to all you parents out there that don't buckle up your kids, watch out because if I see you you WILL be reported!!!!

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 07/15/09 - 12:03 pm
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Odious, step out of character

Odious, step out of character and just think about this for a moment, Ok? Do you honestly think that father would have been LESS panicked about the situation EVEN IF he believed the child was sitting safely with the store manager? Maybe you would have another beer and get around to looking for your baby after the game, but most of us panic when we've lost one of our children, even momentarily. I don't dispute the fact that they should have called the police. There were several mistakes and failures along the way, but there was no lack of love or selfish intent here. Negligence is not always malicious, though the differences in intent may be lost upon you and others among the safely self-righteous.

Grasshopper
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Grasshopper 07/15/09 - 12:05 pm
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purmkinhed on Wed Jul 15,

purmkinhed on Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:45 PM but the baby was crying, so to calm their own nerves they let the kids out of the car seat. That is selfish parenting. Disgusting!

LadyCisback
4
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LadyCisback 07/15/09 - 12:06 pm
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@#^#$%@@!!!!!!!

@#^#$%@@!!!!!!!

Fiat_Lux
16445
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Fiat_Lux 07/15/09 - 12:06 pm
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Please, PURMKINHED, either

Please, PURMKINHED, either fix your username spelling, or explain it for us.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 07/15/09 - 12:11 pm
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Sorry, guys, but duty to

Sorry, guys, but duty to other things calls. Enjoy venting your spleens.

brandy1951
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brandy1951 07/15/09 - 12:13 pm
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She will proabally be out

She will proabally be out walking around for ever like the girl did that left her baby in the car and he died while she was on the phone with her boy friend. she is free nothing has been done with her after a year and she still has a daughter at home with her. I dont"t care what circumstances you do not sat a bay down on the pavement. you put it in the car first then deal with the latter. I can:t beleive that she drove all that far without missing the baby.

HillGuy
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HillGuy 07/15/09 - 12:13 pm
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You lose your child and then

You lose your child and then don't even call 911??.. unbelievable! I don't know what's more disgusting, this woman's parenting skills or you apologists on here making excuses for her. There's no excuse for this, period.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 07/15/09 - 12:15 pm
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Saint Hillgoon.

Saint Hillgoon.

HillGuy
8
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HillGuy 07/15/09 - 12:23 pm
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Fiat Lux and O_O.. can't you

Fiat Lux and O_O.. can't you get by on here with just one username??

HillGuy
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HillGuy 07/15/09 - 12:25 pm
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It's also quite telling that

It's also quite telling that the same liberal blowhards on these forums are the very ones defending these negligent parents... always coddle the criminal.. that's the liberal way.

calihali
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calihali 07/15/09 - 12:35 pm
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Ode & HillGuy - you're great!

Ode & HillGuy - you're great!

Fiat_Lux
16445
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Fiat_Lux 07/15/09 - 12:40 pm
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Saint Hillgoon, Do you

Saint Hillgoon, Do you honestly think I'm a liberal blowhard? Oh, my sides. Blowhard, perhaps, but I don't think there are many posting here as genuinely conservative as I--not to be confused with the nazis and nutcases. However, defending a negligent parent who made a terrible mistake and is absolutely miserable, from the sickening tirades of blowhard ah's like yourself is simply humane, a concept you might explore when you get tired of grooving on the more debased aspects of your thought life.

southernguy08
532
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southernguy08 07/15/09 - 12:44 pm
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HILLGUY, forget it. You can't
Unpublished

HILLGUY, forget it. You can't reason with idiots who can't comprehend that a child's life was in danger and that the best thing to be done with dirtbag parents is to sterilize them.

justright
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justright 07/15/09 - 01:00 pm
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She's miserable now because

She's miserable now because she got in trouble. If that wasn't her first thought then she would have notified CCSO immediately and had them get to McD's ASAP. There's no boohooing coming from her because she left the child, only because of the repercussions of it. Isn't that right, Fat lummox?

justright
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justright 07/15/09 - 01:02 pm
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i mean fiat lux

i mean fiat lux

wendyjune
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wendyjune 07/15/09 - 01:23 pm
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As the mother of 4 small

As the mother of 4 small children, I have NEVER forgotten any one of my kids anywhere.

1trugent
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1trugent 07/15/09 - 01:36 pm
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I just thought of something.

I just thought of something. I wonder if Macaulay Culkin's parents in "Home Alone" were ever charged with child abandonment or neglect. It had to be very traumatizing for the little fella with two burglars breaking into the home and all.

emergencyfan
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emergencyfan 07/15/09 - 01:39 pm
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Fiat Lux - "It really isn't

Fiat Lux - "It really isn't anyone's business except those who are directly involved in it." Thank goodness someone disagreed with you and chose to make this abandoned child their business lest this headline read "Mother charged after DEAD baby found in McDonald's parking lot."

augrichgal
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augrichgal 07/15/09 - 01:50 pm
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wow-i have 3 kids and have

wow-i have 3 kids and have never forgotten one anywhere. For her to tell the dad she "lost" the baby and remembered maybe being at mcdonalds, makes me think she tried to get rid of her baby by abandoning it. That baby would have baked in the sun if not run over a car. Geesh! If not criminal intent maybe a mental issue.

storiesihaveread
369
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storiesihaveread 07/15/09 - 02:45 pm
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Fiat lux you are an idiot. I

Fiat lux you are an idiot. I really hope you don't have any offspring or can produce offspring I would feeel sorry for them.

irish62009
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irish62009 07/15/09 - 02:52 pm
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I can't imagine what horrible

I can't imagine what horrible things could be going on in this mother's life to put her in such a mental and emotional state that she could leave her child behind.I pray she gets the help she needs.

justright
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justright 07/15/09 - 03:09 pm
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I've had some pretty horrible

I've had some pretty horrible things go on in my life, but NOTHING could be bad enough to make me forget my child.

mommie2
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mommie2 07/15/09 - 03:19 pm
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Was she high? Is the baby

Was she high? Is the baby ok?

rjay
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rjay 07/15/09 - 03:53 pm
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you see where i put my hat, i

you see where i put my hat, i think the baby had it?

Fiat_Lux
16445
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Fiat_Lux 07/15/09 - 04:22 pm
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Well, I came back, and I read

Well, I came back, and I read all the 'comments' from the various and sundry possessed of opinions. I would love to address all the errors of deductive reasoning and simple logic, the vileness and the utter inability of some to read or understand what was written, both in the article itself and in the comments posted. But, it would be pretty much like trying to teach goats to sing, and quite frankly, though the Almighty probably thinks you are worth the effort, I don't. Nevertheless, when you are in need, I hope you receive exactly the kind of mercy you have shown here.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 07/15/09 - 04:42 pm
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Fiat Lux, how many times did

Fiat Lux, how many times did you drive off and leave your babies in a carrier sitting in a McDonald's parking lot on a very hot day? This isn't a general situation, it's very specific. And, the baby was missing for quite a while before it was noticed. This isn't a fluffy headed oopsie, it's a serious case of neglect or mental instability.

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