October Festival Guide

Neighbors ‘shocked’ at authorities’ handling of child wandering alone downtown

RICHMOND, Va. — A VCU student who lives right next door to a naked 4-year-old child found wandering alone outside his apartment three times in four days called the events of the last several days “unbelievable.”

Giovanni Abruzzese said he called police on Friday when he found the child walking down four flights of stairs alone and nude.

“I was expecting for Richmond police and CPS to get the child into a safe home,” Abruzzese said.

When he placed the call, he said he thought he was getting the child help, but now, he’s not so sure.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the child is on the street again,” Abruzzese said.

Police said even after finding the child alone outside for a third time early Monday morning, they do not believe a crime took place, so no charges were placed.

It’s a decision Joyce Smith called ridiculous.

She also called police on Friday after finding the child wandering alone on Broad Street.

At the time, police told us the child’s mother had a medical condition.

“It should have been handled differently,” Smith said.

Smith cannot believe the boy was found alone on Broad St. again.

“If the baby was out there again today, it was not taken care of, and somebody should be held accountable,” Smith said.

Police said Child Protective Services is handling the situation, but a spokesperson for the City of Richmond said they cannot comment for safety reasons.

In fact, the spokesperson refused to tell CBS 6 if the child had been removed from the home.

Richmond Police said CPS assured them they were ramping up their investigation related to this child.

No charges have been filed at this time.

11 comments

    • paula

      Smh I agree with you. The lock a person up if they mistreat a dumb dog or cat but when it co.es to the helpless children they turn thelr backs. Quick to find a home for a animal but return a child back to the same unfit home.

  • Not a Parent

    I take it at face value that the parent did not commit a crime. Once, when I was a toddler, my mother left me at home with my father while she went out with friends. My father put me to bed and went to bed himself. I was so distraught that my mother was gone, I got up after midnight, managed to open the front door, and went outside looking for her. A neighboring couple found me, carried me back into my apartment, and woke my father up. This happened over thirty years ago. Yes, it does seem outrageous that this boy was found wandering alone outside his home three times in a row. Yes, but…is it enough to take a child away from his mother? In poorer neighborhoods, I see little tykes wandering about a lot…almost always with an “older” sibling (if you consider a six- or seven-year-old old enough to watch a three- or four-year-old). If that was enough to take away children from their parents, then foster homes and orphanages would be exploding with children.

  • Ron Melancon

    Maybe these parents will also start a petition blaming the police for targeting these parents . They can join the Henrico parents from the Virana high school

    • Mike

      I agree, along with the parents from New Kent for blaming SC police for locking up their teens who were drinking and driving.

  • aleinva

    SMH. RIC CPS probably didn’t want to add another child to their rolls. They haven’t been doing so great with the caseloads they already have. That child could have been kidnapped or hit by a car because the authorities didn’t take action the first or second time!

  • Clt

    This seems like a story to sell media. If there was a crime there would be a mugshot with this report. When my children were young they would escape. Toddlers are curious and do that, I didn’t live in a metro area thankfully. I would also assume a 4 year old would know not to play in traffic. I’m not saying this isn’t serious but this has been exaggerated. Good job writing smut. I actually feel sorry for this family.

  • Concerned

    so lets say it is in fact a medical condition, after the 2nd time (1st being a warning) why wouldnt they mandate the parent get some assistance or make changes to her locks on the door before returning the child?? True there may have not been a crime but its about safety. they have those terrible sirens to put on doors and windows that scream whenever its opened. And they are not expensive. I think both the parent and DSS hold responsibility for this childs safety.

  • Tamara

    The mother was charged today. Whatever medical condition she has, if it puts the child in danger, the child needs to be in a safe place. Where are the safeguards, such as deadbolt if you have a known medical issue that prevents you from making sure a four year old doesn’t leave the house?

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