The above headline might sound sensationalist. There’s a few other less alarming versions out there. Possibly due to recent world events rightfully dominating the news, this story didn’t garner nearly the exposure it should have when breaking weeks ago. Here’s the bare facts from Reason.com:
“Debra Harrell works at McDonald’s in Augusta, South Carolina. For most of the summer, her daughter had stayed there with her, playing on a laptop that Harrell had scrounged up the money to purchase. (McDonald’s has free WiFi.) Sadly, the Harrell home was robbed and the laptop stolen, so the girl asked her mother if she could be dropped off at the park to play instead. Harrell said yes. She gave her daughter a cell phone [and a house key]. The girl went to the park – a place so popular that at any given time there are about 40 kids frolicking – two days in a row. There were swings, a “splash pad,” and shade. On her third day at the park, an adult asked the girl where her mother was. At work, the daughter replied. The shocked adult called the cops. Authorities declared the girl “abandoned” and proceeded to arrest the mother.”
Augusta police took away Debra’s 9 year old daughter from the park, and instead of locating other relatives, placed the girl in the custody of the Department of Social Services, where she remains to this day.