Two-year-old reunited with family after he was found wandering on a dirt road in Starke.
The Bradford County Sheriff's Office arrested Stephanie Jenkins and charged her with child neglect
STARKE, Fla. -- A two-year-old has been reunited with his family after he went missing for about an hour-and-a-half Monday morning.
The Bradford County Sheriff's Office said their investigation has revealed child neglect and they arrested the mother Stephanie Jenkins on the charge. The Department of Children and Families placed her children with a family member.
Police say the child wandered outside of a motel room off U.S. Highway 301 in Starke around 8:30 a.m. this morning. A woman found the child in her yard crying. The boy had walked from the north end of the hotel to NW 36th Avenue, a dirt road located beside the hotel.
With the start of summer just a week away, law enforcement reminds parents to be alert during summer vacations.
Another family in Florida faced a similar situation during the weekend, but with a very tragic ending. The body of 8-year-old Owen Black was found in the water in Perdido Key in the Panhandle after he had gone missing Friday while on vacation with his family.
"If the child wanders off from the parents, it's important that the parents are aware of where their children are at and if they lose track of them to notify us as quickly as possible. Time is of the utmost essence here," said Captain Brad Smith, Bradford County Sheriff's Office.
About 2,100 times per day, law enforcement agencies are contacted by parents and primary guardians who feel their child's disappearance is serious enough to report. That's according to the FBI's National Crime Information Center. Even though the main ways to prevent losing a child is to keep them in sight at all times, there are ways to prepare for the worst case scenario:
-ID bracelets are often sold by local law enforcement and they can also be purchased online.
-Making sure your kids know their phone numbers and correct contact information, including addresses.
-Teach older children how to use a phone and how to call for help.
-You can even purchase an ID kit to fingerprint your child and DNA collection.
And if you have to report a missing child, after contacting law enforcement, use the resources available to you. Sheriff's departments say social media sites like Facebook have proven extremely helpful in cases like these.
First Coast News