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.

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Fiat_Lux
15900
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Fiat_Lux 07/15/09 - 06:05 pm
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PT, despite the prevailing

PT, despite the prevailing and quite mistaken opinion, I do not view this incident as less serious and frightening than it was, and likewise the reasons for it's having happened in the first place. I completely reject the also prevailing, largely uninformed, hateful and presumptious opinions and generalizations being expressed about Ms. Thomas and her character, etc. And the two possibilities you cite ('neglect or mental instability') are typical of the inaccurate, even false, choices being given as reasons. There are several other possibilities that the smug stalwarts here simply refuse to consider because those possible reasons don't fit into their knee-jerk opinions about what 'kind' of person could do this. And those opinions were cemented from the fairly small amount of information published. I find such dull, thick-headed reductionism completely revolting, and suited to far more primitive organisms that live largely by instinct than is expected of human beings.

storiesihaveread
358
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storiesihaveread 07/15/09 - 06:21 pm
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Wow Fiat use's big words to

Wow Fiat use's big words to impress his little package he has and I am talking about both heads. The mother needs to be charged. As soon as she realized her baby was missing. Not walk in the door at home "Oh honey I left our 6 month old baby at McDonalds can you please drive up there and get him. Please what ever guilty as charged.

Fiat_Lux
15900
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Fiat_Lux 07/15/09 - 06:43 pm
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Please keep in mind that the

Please keep in mind that the parents probably DID NOT REALIZE their baby was missing nearly as soon as the people at the Mickey D's did. Their response to this discovery was grossly inadequate, but again, we don't know what happened there. There are several non-malignant possibilities that come to mind right away, such as complete panic, inexperience and youth, terror--all of which act unkindly on logical thinking and responding. Kindly remember that as you pillory this family. This is not anything like the case where an otherwise great mother DECIDED and CHOSE to leave her napping child locked in the car in order to make a quick dash into Michael's. Mrs. Thomas was not even aware that she had done it until she realized her baby wasn't in the car. And, no, a baby isn't like a purse, but plenty of parents have left their 'not-purses' baking in their carseats while they put in a full day at the office. So yeah, it's rare, but forgetting your baby can happen to just about anyone under the right circumstances. Just be glad it hasn't happened to you and have a little pity for the people it has hit. If this seems idiotic to any of you, well, I fear it says more about you than me.

Fiat_Lux
15900
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Fiat_Lux 07/15/09 - 06:44 pm
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Stories, you are a vulgar

Stories, you are a vulgar worm, and clearly as dumb as a hammer. If you can't keep up, don't show up.

1941
4
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1941 07/15/09 - 06:52 pm
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Are the above comments, from

Are the above comments, from the same people , who say abolish abortion? You all are doing the same thing, critizing the mother, who is evidently, not mature enough to have a child, and also saying she should go to prision for what she did.If she had, had an abortion, this would not be news!!

jacobwriggsly
1
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jacobwriggsly 07/15/09 - 08:13 pm
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41--she didn't need an

41--she didn't need an abortion, she needed to practice safe sex---there are ways to keep from getting prg, or didn't you know.

jacobwriggsly
1
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jacobwriggsly 07/15/09 - 08:14 pm
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PT, re your 5:42, appears a

PT, re your 5:42, appears a serious case of drug addled!

Fiat_Lux
15900
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Fiat_Lux 07/15/09 - 08:32 pm
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What hole did you crawl out

What hole did you crawl out of, Jacob Wriggsley?

jacobwriggsly
1
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jacobwriggsly 07/15/09 - 08:47 pm
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fiat lux, about a thousand

fiat lux, about a thousand miles higher than yours--you have a better idea idiot ?

Fiat_Lux
15900
Points
Fiat_Lux 07/15/09 - 09:11 pm
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I have lots of better ideas,

I have lots of better ideas, idiot. First, where did you ever get the idea there were drugs involved in this? Pull it out the air in that 1,000-mile high hole in the air? And how do you think it's within your purview to discuss her decision to have a child? Just exactly who do you think yourself to be? Do you have so little insight, or shame or self-control? You're sickening.

jacobwriggsly
1
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jacobwriggsly 07/15/09 - 09:24 pm
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fiat, you sound like the

fiat, you sound like the druggie! How can you "forget" a tot on the ground in a parking lot--I believe the majority would consider you, my friend, the idiot!

HillGuy
7
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HillGuy 07/15/09 - 09:48 pm
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Let's just pray that Fiat Lux

Let's just pray that Fiat Lux does not have small children or is ever entrusted with the care of them.

Fiat_Lux
15900
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Fiat_Lux 07/15/09 - 10:21 pm
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Total twirps. No better than

Total twirps. No better than attack dogs, In any case, I want to go wash the filth of this forum off of my day and enjoy what remains of it with civilized, decent people.

FeedUpWithStupidPeople
0
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FeedUpWithStupidPeople 07/16/09 - 01:17 am
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Children come first PERIOD

Children come first PERIOD

HillGuy
7
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HillGuy 07/16/09 - 01:20 am
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I was waiting for the liberal

I was waiting for the liberal blowhards like fiat lux to blame a big bad corporation like McDonalds for this incident.

InTheKnow411
0
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InTheKnow411 07/16/09 - 11:15 pm
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I am very close to this

I am very close to this particular situation and hopefully I can ease some of your concerns. This was a dangerous and tragic situation that has shaken a family and forever impacted them in many ways. It was however an isolated incident. Both parents of the children are wonderful, stable people who devote their lives to their daughters. In a horrible accident the mother did neglect to put the car seat in the car with the baby. while she was opening the car the older child ran off and so she put down the carrier to get the other child back safely. She buckled her in and in her hurried and distracted state forgot that she had not finished putting the baby in the car on the other side. Immediately after getting home she realize her tragic mistake and hurriedly called her husband. He was right around the corner from the McDonalds, he did not have to drive there from across town. She immediately returned to the restaurant to be with her child and accept the blame for her dangerous mistake. She takes full responsibility for what she did. She knows that although this was an accident it was a dangerous one that threatened the life of her child and she will abide by any punishment given her.

InTheKnow411
0
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InTheKnow411 07/16/09 - 11:20 pm
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Childrens services have

Childrens services have visited their home and seen that it is in pristine condition and a wonderful safe and loving environment for both children. They have also met with extended family that live in close proximity and determined their homes to be wonderful safe havens for children. So did she do the wrong thing? Yes. Did she endanger the life of her child? Yes. Was it volitional? No. Is she on drugs or otherwise incapacitated? No. She is and will continue to be an excellent mother that adores her children and will not always be perfect. Please be careful not to judge her to harshly, God and the police are in charge of that. The family will heal and life will go on. I know it is by the grace of God that my family is safe tonight from the many instances every day when life can be hectic and situations catch up on you. There is no excuse for this but there is forgiveness.

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