DeFuniak Springs Police responded to East Main Street on Sunday in reference to a 2 year old girl who was found walking in the road. With temperatures in the low 50’s, the girl was found at approximately 4:45 PM. A motorist happened to be driving down East Main and stopped to help the child. The man took the girl to a neighbor’s house, thinking she had gone missing from there. When the neighbor denied knowing the girl, Police were contacted. Officers arrived and tried talking to the toddler, but due to her age, she was unable to tell them her name or information.
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) was contacted to respond. Prior to their arrival, 30 year old Sharon Santiago approached Officers and said the child was her daughter. Officers escorted Santiago and her daughter to a residence on College Avenue to investigate further. Santiago stated she and a friend were sitting downstairs and believed her 2 year old to be playing upstairs with the dogs. She reportedly didn’t hear anything and went upstairs to find her daughter missing. Santiago went looking for her child and was directed to Officers who were across the street.
After interviewing witnesses, it was determined that the mother had neglected the child by not supervising her. Santiago was placed under arrest and transported to the Walton County Jail on charges of Child Neglect. DCF authorized a family member to take custody of the toddler and her sibling.