It could have been a tragic situation, but thanks to two male Good Samaritans, a tragedy was avoided. The two men stopped to grab a toddler from the middle of Magnolia Road Wednesday morning during a rainstorm and stayed with her until first responders arrived.
“She was wet, cold and not wearing any shoes,” exclaimed Lance Chancellor with Powers Fire & Rescue, who was dispatched to the scene near Keahey Gore Road in East Jones County, along with EMServ Ambulance Service and the Jones County Sheriff’s Department. Chancellor, a Powers Fire & Rescue volunteer emergency medical responder, who was assisted by three volunteer firefighters, evaluated the condition of the child until EMServ arrived to provide advanced care.
Sgt. Lance Williams with the Jones County Sheriff’s Department arrived on scene, and after checking out the child, observed the front door of a nearby house ajar at 305 Magnolia Road. Williams said he approached the home, knocked on the front door, and loudly announced several times “Sheriff Department." There was no response. Stepping just inside the house, Williams, in an even louder voice, announced again, “Sheriff Department.” He was met by a black male, Antonio Cook. His girlfriend, Megan Cochran, was found asleep in the bedroom.
“I asked them did they have a small child, a little girl, and they both replied yes,” explained Williams. “I then said, ‘well, she’s been found outside in the middle of the road.’”
Williams said they didn’t get up, and he told them, “You need to come get your child out of the ambulance.”
He advised them that they were both being arrested and charged with child neglect.
Upon further investigation, the grandmother of the child was discovered in a bedroom in the back of the home with the door closed. It appeared the child was left unattended, with the adults asleep in the bedrooms with the doors closed.
Williams said the entire home was in poor condition, and he observed little food in the home.
Powers Fire & Rescue went to Walker’s Dairy Bar and picked up a meal for the child, which was donated by the restaurant. Using their own personal funds, the volunteers purchased food from a local store for the child and grandmother to have additional meals.
Williams contacted Child Protective Services, who asked him if there was anyone that he could leave the child with; CPS said that they were not getting involved. He said he intended to arrest all three adults, but after learning the medical condition of the grandmother, who is in a wheelchair, and CPS’s response, Williams only arrested Cook and Cochran, the mother of the child, and gave the grandmother a citation. With no other choice, he left the child with the grandmother.
The Impact contacted CPS in Jackson, and the agency is looking into the incident. According to a spokesperson for CPS, it is the policy of the CPS to respond to an officer’s call. The social worker may report the incident to the CPS hotline, and the officer may do the same thing.
We will release more information on this story as it becomes available.