Missing Baby: Accident or Neglect?

toddler aloneDurand Brown, a 37-year-old father of six (and special needs teacher), left his hectic household to get some groceries for the family, leaving a 12-year-old in charge. Somehow the 1-year-old wandered out of the home and was found by a neighbor, naked, wearing only a dirty diaper.

The kid in this story is okay, but the dad’s in serious trouble, and his wife says he’s getting a raw deal.


Personally, I think I’m inclined to go easy on this guy. I’ve had enough bad mommy moments to know I shouldn’t judge. The guy was in the middle of a maelstrom of kids and called the police immediately when he realized the baby was missing.

His night in jail was probably the quietest night of sleep he’s had in 12 years.

On the other hand, this could have ended so badly. And if it had, I’d be a lot more pissed that he didn’t notice sooner -- and that he left a tween in charge of the little guy. Have you met an eighth grader lately? They’re like 2-year-olds with cuss words and iPods.

But I still feel for this family: the overwhelmed dad, the mom who has jumped to his defense, the 12-year-old who probably feels awful and got his butt whupped (at least metaphorically), and the special-ed kids who don’t have a teacher because Durand was removed from his job when this happened.

What do you think? Is this child neglect, or could it happen in any big family? Is that an excuse?

Image via Alyssa L. Miller/Flickr

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