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Police: Mother, uncle cited for child neglect after 5-year-old left home alone

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY – Police say a mother left her 5-year-old at home alone after the child got off the school bus. Officials said the child’s uncle also was cited because he was supposed to be watching the child.

Salisbury police cited Sharnise Letitia Cook, 26, of 231 W. D Ave., Colonial Village Apartments, for misdemeanor child neglect and Jermond Hawkins, 28, of 237 N. Point Ave., High Point, with misdemeanor child abuse or neglect.

Police were called to the apartment complex about 3 p.m. Friday because the child was let off the bus and was waiting outside the apartment wearing her short-sleeved school uniform Polo shirt and no jacket. A neighbor said she saw the child waiting outside the apartment and noted it was about 45 degrees. The neighbor asked the child if her mother was home and the child said no, said police Capt. Shelia Lingle.

The neighbor knocked on the door and got no reply. The neighbor asked if the child knew where her mother was and the girl said no. Police were able to identify the mother’s car, run its license plate and find some telephone numbers.

A man identifying himself as the child’s uncle drove up about 4:55 p.m. and asked where his niece was, Lingle said.

A police officer told the uncle the child was waiting inside a warm apartment building while authorities sorted the situation out. The man, identified as Jermond Hawkins, told police the child’s mother was at a hair salon.

He drove to the hair salon and brought the mother home. Lingle said the mother tried to dispute the length of time that the child was left home alone, but police said the mother was not at the apartment even after they arrived.

The charge was reported to the Rowan County Department of Social Services.

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