A 3-year-old Englewood girl who wanted ice cream wandered from home late at night and ended up in the city’s busy commercial district not once but twice in the same week, said authorities who charged her mother with child endangerment.
Both times, concerned adults found the toddler and notified police, Deputy Police Chief Gregory Halstead said.
The first night, one of several motorists who saw the Hillside Avenue girl crossing the busy intersection of East Palisade Avenue and Engle Street at 11:20 p.m. held onto her until police arrived, Halstead said.
Unfortunately, the girl couldn’t provide her parents’ names or address, the deputy chief said.
“All she knew is that she was on a mission to get ice cream,” he said.
Officer Luana Sharpe “ensured she was in good health and comforted her during her ordeal,” while patrol officers canvassed the area in search of her parents, Halstead said.
Officer Brett Devenney eventually spotted an open door on Hillside Avenue.
Both of the girl’s parents -- Maria Ramirez and Norberto Garcia – apparently didn’t tell relatives who live with them that they were going out, Halstead said.
The relatives assumed the girl was with Ramirez, he added.
Police contacted both parents and had them respond to headquarters.
They also alerted state child protection authorities, who had the girl returned to her parents, Halstead said.
It was after 10 p.m. two nights later that the toddler left again.
And once again, she ventured onto East Palisade Avenue.
A Bennie’s Restaurant employee who stepped outside for a break saw the child about to step into the street, grabbed her and called police, the deputy chief said.
“Thankfully, the child was again unharmed,” he said.
Maria Ramirez, 22, was again summoned to headquarters. She told police she thought her daughter was in bed, Halstead said.
State Division Child Protection and Permanency representatives came to the station, as well, he said.
Ramirez was charged with child endangerment and released – with her daughter – pending a court hearing, Halstead said.
State child protection authorities were investigating.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.