Mother Charged After Toddler Found Wandering in Middle of Ross Street

Couple finds the child was found after dark, wearing no shoes or jacket, in 40-degree weather.

Ross Township police have charged an Etna woman with endangerment of a child after her daughter wandered away from a birthday party and was found walking in the middle of the street.

Police said they were called to Schars Lane at 7:15 p.m Jan. 19 by a couple who found a young girl walking in the middle of the road with no shoes nor jacket. Officers said the little girl, who is 1 1/2, was crying, shivering and wearing socks covered in mud. The temperature was about 40 degrees and the weather was dry, according to police.

"Approximately 15 minutes after our officer had arrived on scene, there were no calls of a missing child and no one was seen looking for the child," said Detective Brian Kohlhepp.

Officers then noticed a Happy Birthday balloon on a mailbox on Schars Lane, which was approximately 30 yards from where the child was found.  A woman standing on a second-floor porch told officers, when asked, that a child was indeed missing from the home.

Police said Amber Saunders, 31, of Etna, dentified the child found in the middle of the road as her daughter.

According to police, Saunders said she and another woman thought other children would watch the child. Both iwomen acknowledged they knew the door to the home did not latch and could be opened by a child. Neither woman said they were aware the child had left, and neither knew how long she had been outside.

Police said Saunders had been drinking but did not appear to be intoxicated.

They left the child in the custody of other family members who had not been drinking and notified Allegheny County's Office of Children, Youth and Families.

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