A New York mother has been arrested and charged with child endangerment for allegedly leaving her 4-year-old son outside, tied to a bush by a so-called toddler leash, police say.
Spring Valley police arrested Mery Isabel Quinde-Castro Tuesday after residents at an area apartment complex reported seeing the boy alone outside tied to the shrub, WNBC News reports. She has been charged with misdemeanor child endangerment.
Authorities told WABC News that the 22-year-old mother works as a baby sitter in the complex and had brought her son along Tuesday because he had recently finished preschool.
Quinde-Castro did not have childcare arranged for her son so she brought him along, WABC reports. However, apparently not wanting to bring him inside and let her employer know her son was with her, she tied his leash to the bush so he couldn’t roam free in the apartment complex.
But the accused woman’s sister, Rosa Quinde-Castro, disputed that version of events when speaking with WNBC.
She said her sister did bring the boy along for her work day, but he had been inside with her. When Mery took out some trash to a dumpster, the boy, who reportedly has behavioral problems, wouldn’t come back inside so she tied him to the bush, Rosa added.
She said that her nephew is hyperactive and his mother typically requires him to wear the plush backpack with an integrated soft leash to keep the boy from running into traffic.
Police say Mery maintains her son was only outside for 10 minutes, but one neighbor who called police reported seeing the boy unattended for about 45 minutes, according to WNBC.
“She did nothing wrong. She is a good mother,” Rosa Quinde-Castro told WNBC.
Spring Valley Police Chief Paul Modica told WABC that investigators think it was probably more than 10 minutes.
“Regardless, 10 minutes or 10 seconds, our investigation is leaning closer to more than a half hour, 45 minutes that that child was out there,” he said.
“I don't think she understood the gravity of what had taken place,” Modica told WNBC. “It could have been bad.
“The kid could have disappeared, gotten hurt. It's not the proper thing to do,” he added.
Mery was released from jail after $2,500 cash bail was posted.
She still has custody of her son, according to relatives who spoke to WNBC.
Child Protective Services is monitoring the case, according to WPIX News.
Photo Credit: WPIX News