Two charged after child wanders from home

by Wes Mayer

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Inv. Taylor Helton and Deputy Betty Wheat tend to the child inside the command post set up on scene. 


Coweta County authorities found a missing child in an overgrown area with a few scratches but otherwise unharmed Thursday morning, a few hours after the child had been reported missing from a home south of Turin.

Two people, whose actions likely led to the child wandering away, were later charged with reckless conduct.

Around 9:30 a.m., authorities with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 100-block of Linzy Willis Road in reference to a missing child, said Lt. Col. Jimmy Yarbrough with the sheriff’s office. There, authorities learned the child had last been seen around 8:15 a.m., when the child’s grandmother, Alicia Renee Landers, 46, dropped off the 18-month-old child at the home.

According to Yarbrough, the child was not supposed to be left in the custody of the parents, who live at the address. The child had already been removed from the home by the Department of Family and Child Services due to issues with the parents, and the child was supposed to remain under the guardianship of Landers, Yarbrough said.

Authorities learned that when Landers dropped off the child, the child’s parents were asleep in the bedroom and she did not wake them up. There was, however, another man, Charlie Larry Thompson Jr., 24, sleeping on the couch. Landers said she woke Thompson up to tell him about the child, but when investigators spoke to Thompson, he claimed he did not remember talking to Landers, Yarbrough said.

Authorities also found the home’s front door was not secured, and the child probably wandered off. Investigators searched the area and became worried when they found a pond nearby with color markers floating in it, but they did not find the child after searching around the pond.

The sheriff’s office’s helicopter and K-9 units were dispatched to help search for the child, and around 11 a.m., about 2,000 yards away from the residence, Investigator Taylor Helton found the child curled up underneath a briar patch, Yarbrough said. The child was frightened and a little scratched up from the briars, but was otherwise in good health.

Because Thompson was not very cooperative during the investigation, authorities charged him with reckless conduct and obstruction, Yarbrough said, and because Landers knowingly dropped the child off at a residence where the child was not allowed to be, she was charged with reckless conduct as well. Both were transported to the Coweta County Jail.

The child was turned over to authorities with the Department of Family and Child Services.



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