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Couple charged after leaving 2-year-old home alone

By Brandon Evans | Published Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Two people were arrested Saturday after Wise County Sheriff’s deputies rescued an 18-month-old left alone, locked in a room in a trailer home, for approximately eight hours.

Couple charged after leaving 2-year-old home alone

Couple charged after leaving 2-year-old home alone

That afternoon, the Wise County Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous call. The caller said they suspected a small child had been left alone inside the residence in the 1300 block of County Road 4797, since at least mid-morning. The home is located southwest of Boyd, just east of Farm Road 51 near the Parker County line.

Deputies responded. Peering through a window they spotted the small, unattended child in a crib. No one else was home. The front door of the trailer home was padlocked. A pair of boots with crosses on them sat by the front door.

Investigators made entry into the home through the window into the room where the toddler was locked.

The child stared out the window at deputies as they entered the home. Investigators determined the toddler had been alone about eight hours by the time they arrived.

According to a press release by the Sheriff’s Office, an electric space heater was left running in the same room, “leaving the room extremely hot.”

The toddler was transported by medics to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur for evaluation.

On Sunday, Tiffany E. Barnes, 34, and Thomas W. Harris, 29, were arrested and both were charged with abandoning a child and leaving in imminent danger to bodily injury, a second-degree felony.

The parents told investigators they left the toddler at home because “he was sleeping, and we did not want to wake him.”

They also told investigators they’d taken their five-year-old with them to a doctor’s appointment. Both children were placed into the care of Child Protective Services. Barnes and Harris both posted their $10,000 bail by Monday and were released.

If found guilty, they each face a prison sentence of two to 20 years and up to a $10,000 fine.

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