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3-year-old found wandering in road, mother charged

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — A Salisbury woman was charged this week after her 3-year-old son was found wandering in the road about a quarter of a mile from her home.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office charged Lori Zurney Hurlocker, 39, with one count of misdemeanor child abuse.

The incident occurred Sept. 20, but the mother was charged Monday after an investigation and review by the District Attorney’s Office.

A woman spotted the boy just after 8:30 a.m. Sept. 20 in the St. Matthew’s Church Road-Pine Needle Trail area. She was on the phone when she saw the boy in the travel lane about to walk farther into the road. She quickly hung up and grabbed the boy, then called 911.

Sheriff’s deputies tried to find out the boy’s name but were unable to get any information from him. They noticed a nearby mobile home park and contacted the owner, who told them he believed the child’s mother lived at 485 Pine Needle Trail.

When deputies went to the mobile home, they saw a door open and asked Hurlocker if her son was missing. She said he was. The deputy noted in his report that Hurlocker was wearing a nightgown and did not appear to be in distress.

Hurlocker said her son was on the front porch playing while she was busy inside. She told the deputies he knew he wasn’t supposed to leave the porch.

Authorities said it was 54 minutes from the time the witness who spotted the child called 911 until they reached Hurlocker’s home. Hurlocker had not reported the child missing.

The Rowan County Department of Social Services was called and Hurlocker gave investigators consent to search her home. Hurlocker’s parents were called and took custody of the child and a 1-year-old girl until the DSS investigation was concluded. The parents also agreed to pick up a third child, who was in school at the time of the incident.

Hurlocker was served with a warrant on Monday and was issued a written promise to appear in court on Nov. 15.

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