Wandering Child Remains in State Custody - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/08/05

Wandering Child Remains in State Custody

The image broadcast on WTOC. LaShayla only gave authorities her nickname, "KiKi." The image broadcast on WTOC. LaShayla only gave authorities her nickname, "KiKi."

A Hinesville child remains in foster care after a three-day ordeal. Neighbors found the three-year-old little girl wandering alone Friday night. She's okay, but neighbors and police want to know how and why this happened in the first place.

LaShayla Gunn is no taller than the fire hydrants in her neighborhood. And residents of Summerwind Apartments were shocked Friday night to hear of her wandering their complex alone.

"My heart was broken for her because I couldn't do anything for her," said neighbor Ashley Noble.

A woman called 911 when someone brought the child to her doorstep asking if she knew who the child belonged to.

For LaShayla to get from her mother's home to where she was found, she had to enter the apartment complex, walk down a street and around a corner, then around another corner to get to Dumpsters maybe two blocks away. A three-year-old all alone.

Officer Travis Palmer arrived and went door to door, looking for parents. He didn't find one, but the little girl's grandmother spotted her picture on WTOC and called police, who got hold of the child's mother.

"She was taking a nap and when she woke up, she believed the father had taken the child," explained Palmer.

But the father said he didn't. Those nearby shudder at what could have happened. "With all the child molesters and child kidnapping and all that going on, she's lucky somebody found her and called police," said Hinesville resident Lewis Crudup.

Police now want to know how she got there in the first place.

After an emergency hearing this morning, a judge decided to keep LaShayla in state custody. They'll go back to court again next week to see if they should make a change then.

In the meantime, police have not charged anyone in the case, but say the investigation is far from over.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com

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