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Babysitter charged after three children wandered off

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BY KEITH EPPS

A 22-year-old Stafford County woman was charged with three felonies Saturday after three small children she was supposed to be watching wandered about a mile from home, police said.

Sheriff Charles Jett said the investigation began about 2:45 p.m. when the manager at the Taco Bell on Warrenton Road reported a 7-year-old boy alone at his restaurant.

The boy was alone and unable to provide information about his parents or where he lives, Jett said.

Deputy Kevin Kortman talked to the child and learned that two younger siblings, ages 6 and 4, had been with him.

Other deputies were called in to search the area and the other two children were found in a field near the Taco Bell.

Deputies began riding around with the children trying to locate their home. Finally one of the children pointed out an apartment in Cynthia’s Place, about a mile from where they had ended up.

Police knocked on the door and were greeted by a woman who told them she was caring for an 18-month-old while the three older children played outside.

She said they had been outside about 15 minutes. Jett said it had been 20 minutes between the times that the Sheriff’s Office was called and the children’s home was located.

Lasheika S. Harmon, 22, was charged with three counts of felony child neglect. She was placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail under no bond.

Jett said the children’s mother was called to the scene and the children were turned over to her.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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