ALERT: Police searching for missing college student

Mom left 5-year-old home alone because girl was playing PlayStation

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. – A Henrico mother is facing charges after police said she left her 5-year-old daughter unattended last week.

Tonyetta Harris was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which is a misdemeanor.

The mother of four talked to CBS 6’s Chelsea Rarrick on Tuesday to share her side of the story. She said she was home with her daughter when she ran out to get dinner down the street. She said she was only gone for about 20 minutes.

“She was playing her PlayStation 3, I asked her if she wanted to come and she was like, ‘No, I’m playing the game,'” Harris said.

She said she told her daughter that if she needed anything or if anything were to happen, that her cousins were home just two doors down.

But while Harris was gone, Henrico police said that an adult reported seeing Harris’ daughter outside with no supervision for around 30 minutes.

CBS 6 legal expert Todd Stone said there can be grey areas with these kinds of incidents.

“The law in Virginia doesn’t specify an age when it comes to leaving a child home alone, but it’s really about reasonableness and what’s appropriate under the circumstances,” Stone said.

Harris said she wants people to know that she is a good mother and cares about her children. However, she said this incident does serve as a learning lesson.


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