Over the weekend police officers were stunned to discover a four-year-old girl roaming the streets of New York City alone. After the child remained unclaimed for days, police have arrested a woman who is now believed to be her mother.
Saturday, police noticed the child walking alone just after midnight at the corner of E. 156 St. and Prospect Ave. in the Bronx. Sunday, the NYPD shared surveillance video on its official Twitter page that showed a person who appears to be a woman walking ahead as the girl crosses the street alone. The adult stops to make sure the child crossed the street safely. But in a stunning turn of events, she then leaves her behind.
The little girl who later told the officers that her name is Sidaya, was alone for about ten minutes before she was discovered only wearing a sweater, sweatpants and rain boots in the cold winter weather.
According to News12, she was taken to a local hospital for evaluation and although she was listed in good condition, by Monday no parents or guardians had come forward to claim her and she remained in the care of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services.
However, on Wednesday, a New York Police spokeswoman confirmed to PEOPLE that the woman in the video was believed to be Sadeekah Abdul Salaam and that on Monday she was arrested and charged with abandonment of a child, act in a matter injurious to a child, and reckless endangerment.
PEOPLE reports that “The relationship between the girl and the suspect was not immediately clear. It was also not immediately clear if Salaam has entered a plea or retained an attorney to comment on the allegations.” But sources told local station CBS2 that Salaam is believed to be the girl’s mother.
Child abandonment has been a hot topic in the news lately. As theGrio previously reported, last month, a young mother in Ohio went viral after it was reported that she had been arrested for leaving her children alone to complete a shift at work.
But in that case, the public rallied around the single mother struggling to provide for her children and people across the internet started sending her money to support her family.
According to WFMJ, Shaina Bell was at work when an anonymous tip led Liberty Township police to a motel room where the 24-year-old’s two daughters, age 10 and 2, were awaiting their mother to get off work. She informed law enforcement that she typically has someone check on the girls every hour while she works at a local pizza restaurant.
Bell was arrested and has pleaded not guilty to child endangering. WFMJ reported the children were turned over to their father and she was released on bail. The next hearing is due for April. As the story made national headlines, many sent in donations instead of shaming the mother for her actions.
Launched with a goal of $5K, a GoFundMe to help the family ultimately raised $124K to help provide permanent housing and care for Bell and her children. According to the online fundraiser, community member Danielle Hosey started the page to help create permanent change for the Bell family.
“This campaign was created to help Shaina and her children raise the money they need in order to secure permanent and safe housing. Everything raised will go directly to establishing a safe and permanent home for Shaina, Faith, Jai’Sean, and Jade,” the page stated. “We understand that everyone has a story and we are grateful that you are listening to ours. From the bottom of our hearts, we not only appreciate the financial contributions, but also the outpouring of support in the form of kind words and understanding.
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