Middletown mother charged with child endangering after toddler found outside wearing diaper

A mother of a toddler who was found outside wearing only a diaper early Thursday morning first told Middletown police she did not know the child was wandering, but later admitted to not calling police because of past child neglect issues, according to court records.

Charlas Pendergraft, 29, was charged with child endangering, a first-degree misdemeanor, shortly after she responded to the police station where her son was wrapped in a blanket and being cared for by police personnel. She was booked into the city jail and was scheduled to be arraigned in Middletown Municipal Court Friday afternoon.

Middletown police posted a photo on social media of the boy found outside about 5:30 a.m. in the 800 block of 17th Avenue asking if anyone recognized the child. At about 8:15 a.m. the post was updated saying a parent had been found.

A doorbell camera captured the child on a porch and 911 was called. Officers found the child, who was nonverbal, outside in 50-degree weather, according to the report. They had no luck trying to find a parent in the neighborhood.

A Head Start employee recognized the child from the social media post and gave dispatchers information on the mother. Dispatchers attempted to contact Pendergraft multiple times.

“(Pendergraft) called back at 7:04 a.m. and advised she was not aware that her child was missing,” according to court documents.

When Pendergraft got to the police station she said her son is autistic/non-verbal “and she was aware he was missing but did not want to call police due to a prior child neglect report,” according to court records.

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