Charges have been dropped against a Carlton couple arrested after their 1-year old daughter was found crawling along Hwy. 72 last month.
Northern Circuit District Attorney Parks White said charges of reckless conduct and cruelty to children against Timothy Pickens, 37, and Molly Denise Pickens, 31, were dismissed after he, DFCS and the county’s Child Advocacy Multidisciplinary Team, agreed that no crime had been committed.
However, an obstruction charge against Timothy Pickens remains active because Pickens did allegedly push the responding police officer working on the case.
The charges stem from an incident on June 13, when Bryant Collins stopped his truck on Hwy. 72 after seeing the small child crawling along the roadside, according to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.
“While Mr. Collins was still on the phone with 911, Mrs. Pickens contacted 911 to report she had discovered her child missing. Mr. and Mrs. Pickens responded to the location, a few hundred yards from their home and Mr. Pickens attempted to push past an officer to get to his daughter,” White said in a press release. “…The Pickens were interviewed and indicated that prior to discovering their daughter missing, they had left her in the home with their three other children, ages 13, 9, and 5, while they bagged cans in the backyard for recycling. They called 911 immediately after returning to the home and discovering their daughter missing.”
White also indicated that the sheriff’s office did not consult with his office before taking out a warrant against Mrs. Pickens.
“In addition, leaving a child in one’s home with three other children, one a teenager, while one performs chores in the backyard of one’s residence does not rise to the level of criminal negligence,” White said. “Though discovering a 1-year-old child crawling on the side of the road is certainly alarming, we recognize in the law that accidents do occur.”
Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Pickens has a criminal record, White also noted.
“We are not a nanny state, and I have no intention of prosecuting a couple who did nothing wrong and who were, in fact, doing everything they could to make ends meet and provide for their children,” he said.
But Parks said his office will allow a grand jury to review the case as well so that the decision of whether or not the Pickenses should be required to stand trial to be “made by the community.”
“In the meantime, I do not believe the Pickens should have to live with the shadow of these warrants cast over them,” he said.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
The author does not allow comments to this entry