Dad 'Forgets' 3-Year-Old at Fast-Food Restaurant & We Can Imagine Her Mom’s Panic

natalieWhat a scary night this little girl had. A man has been charged with abandonment for leaving his 3-year-old daughter at a Subway sandwich shop in Harlem, New York, late at night. Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers, or who knows what could have happened to this child.

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Stanley Frederique was seen buying himself and daughter Natalie a sandwich at approximately 11:30 p.m. Fruit vendor Mohammed Rahman says he saw him leave Subway with Natalie trailing behind him, calling, "Daddy, Daddy!" Frederique then allegedly turned and yelled, "Go inside, sit down, I'll be back!" Natalie obeyed, but her daddy never came back.

Frederique woke up in Battery Park (in other words, clear on the other end of freakin' Manhattan) at 7:30 in the morning. He called Natalie's mother, Marleana Neeper, to say he was coming home. It wasn't until she asked about Natalie that he realized HE'D FORGOTTEN SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT THE NIGHT BEFORE. Imagine getting that phone call! 

"Marleana had no clue her daughter was missing," says Neeper's employer, Mohammed Wasay. He says "she could barely breathe" upon hearing the news.

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What happened to Natalie in the intervening hours? Thankfully she was spotted by a customer who just happens to be a social worker. Michaela Warnsley took the girl to the nearest police station. After spending the night at a hospital she was finally reunited with Neeper last night.

As for Frederique, he went to the police as soon as he realized his mistake and was charged with child abandonment and reckless endangerment. He was heard saying to gathered reporters, "You guys don't know what's going on in my life. I got problems, OK? I'm sick," as police dragged him off to court. (Way to take responsibility, Daddy!) Frederique has arrests on his record for marijuana possession and criminal possession of a controlled substance in 2003.

You can't help wondering why he was trusted with Natalie in the first place. But again, we don't know what's going on in her mother's life, either -- maybe Neeper thought Frederique had turned his life around and was ready to be a good father. After all, those drug charges are from a decade ago, long before Natalie was even born.

Whatever the case, we're glad Natalie is all right. I can't stand the idea of a child that young being abandoned like that -- how terrifying for her! Think of how that would erode her sense of trust and her attachment not just to her dad (which ... maybe for the best?) but to any grown-up she was close to. Hopefully she has a strong enough relationship with her mother or other adults in her life so she can recover from this.

And hopefully it'll be a long time before she spends time alone with her father. Sad as it is, it doesn't sound like he's in a position to be a responsible parent.

 

Image via New York City Police Department

 

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