Another Mom Arrested for Leaving Kids at Park
Ashley Richardson was at food bank for more than 2.5 hours: police
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2014 4:04 PM CDT

(Newser) – Another mom has been arrested for letting her kids play alone at a park. An officer on patrol in Winter Haven, Florida, saw the four children (an 8-year-old, 7-year-old twins, and a 6-year-old, WPTV reports) at the park Tuesday around noon, and parked to observe them since there were no adults in the area. She says they waved her over a few minutes later because the 8-year-old boy had gotten stuck in a toddler swing, and they needed help. She couldn't free him and called the fire department to help; the children's mother, 28-year-old Ashley Richardson, arrived about two and a half hours after the officer first noticed the kids, Bay News 9 reports.

After the boy was set loose from the swing, the officer asked the kids where they lived, and they initially couldn't tell her. She says she then watched them continue playing—including climbing up on a sign and playing near a road and a lakefront—and ultimately they did tell her they lived less than half a mile away, Jezebel reports. When Richardson arrived, just after the officer called for assistance, she was arrested and now faces four counts of negligent child abuse without bodily harm. She told officers she had gone to a local food bank and didn't think she'd be gone so long. There's been backlash over the arrest, but the police chief says, "I [have] met some pretty mature 6, 7, 8-year-olds but you don't leave them unattended." (This mom and this mom were also recently arrested for letting their kids play at the park alone, and this mom was arrested for swearing in front of her kids.)