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Mom Jailed For Leaving 9-Year-Old Daughter at a Nearby Park While She Worked

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Debra Harrell has been charged with unlawful conduct toward a child.

Debra Harrell

Reported by April V. Taylor

ABC 6 is reporting that Debra Harrell has been charged with unlawful conduct toward a child for letting her 9-year-old daughter play in a park while she was at work at a McDonald’s nearby.  The child was discovered by an adult at the Summerfield Park in North Augusta, South Carolina.  The adult asked the girl where her mother was, and police were called after the child revealed that her mother was a work.

Harrell is being charged despite the fact that Reason Magazine is reporting that she had provided her daughter with a cellphone and that she was to eat lunch at Harrell’s workplace.  Harrell reports that her daughter usually came to work with her and occupied herself playing on the family laptop.  The laptop was recently stolen, so Harrell’s daughter asked to be allowed to play in the park.  The girl was not harmed during her time at the park, but she has been removed from Harrell’s care and placed in protective custody with the Department of Social Services.

Lesa Lamback, a local resident whose family frequents the park, stated to ABC6, “I understand the mom may have been in a difficult situation, not having someone to watch the child, but at the same time, you’ve got to find somebody.”  Tonya Cullum, who works at Sara’s Childcare and Preschool, stated to ABC6 that some parents see the park, “as a babysitter.”  She also mentioned that attendance at the daycare declines during the summer months due to parents not being able to afford to keep children in daycare when school is out.  Regarding Harrell’s daughter being allowed to play alone at the park, she states, “What if a man would have come and just snatched her because you have all kinds of trucks that come up in here so you really don’t know.”



  1. Kiesha makins

    July 16, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Omg smh…..

  2. DLC

    July 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    My brother and i ran wild in Chicago & St. Louis during the 60s all the time without any supervision at that age. We took buses, The L train, rode our bikes, went roller skating miles away without our parents because thats how we had fun. But we were together with other 9 & 10yos, at least another one or a gang of us. My mom worked for the IRS and dad owned nightclubs and restaurants back then. We just had FUN!!

  3. SweetTweet

    July 16, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    DLC, Not possible to do that at this time. I believe that innocent time will come back around.

  4. elaine

    July 16, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    I am sure she can’t afford to pay for daycare out of her salary and she probably isn’t eligible for assistance because she works(a catch 22 situation)and probably makes 10 dollars over the eligibility requirement
    its a case of you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t

    if she dose not work she is perceived as being lazy If she does work but does not make enough money to pay for daycare she is perceived as a negligent parent
    while I am willing to say I think she used poor judgment (don’t leave the kid in the park without supervision) I don’t think her actions were criminal she did this out of desperation she wasn’t hanging out she was working to support her family

  5. Mia

    July 16, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Not throwing myself a “pity party” here but…
    when I was a kid my step-monster worked at a Safeway bakery and she left me in the car all day! she would come out on her lunch and breaks to let me use the restroom, she would leave me a sandwich and raisins and a banana. TO THIS DAY I cannot eat a banana and I HATE raisins!! smh..this was the 80’s so i’m guessing it was ok to do this back then…but now they throw parents in jail! ain’t that a B

  6. kennatruth

    July 16, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Anastasia you’re a dumb ass bitch , while the mother did use poor judgment out of desperation you don’t know her story. So what you need to do is stop passing judgment. For all you know you may find yourself in the same situation in because we never know what the future holds!!

  7. kennatruth

    July 16, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    And “Anastasia” if you have so much animosity against black people you should not visit or post on a black site. But you probably don’t have anything else to do in you’re lonely pathetic life

  8. kennatruth

    July 16, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    That’s obvious so stay your racist behind off a black website. I’m pretty sure there’s some white trash you can bother. Then again that’s probably you!!

  9. Pernell Parham

    July 17, 2014 at 9:02 am

    It’s sad how things have changed, we used to get up early and get on our bikes and be gone all day. The only stipulation was “be home before the streetlights come on”.

  10. Truthbeliever

    July 17, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I’m with you Elaine.

    Folk, you would do well to not respond to the likes of Anastasia. She’s looking to get a “rise” out of ya’ll and knows just what to say. Let her alon and she’ll eventually go somewhere where she might garner some support or at least get some attention. My suggestion is to just skip right past her name when you see it. If she aggravates you, don’t even read her posts.

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