Florida Couple Left Their Toddler at the Park for Hours, Charged With Child Neglect

Florida Couple Left Their Toddler at the Park for Hours, Charged With Child Neglect
Makenson and Jolanda Larose Alexandre and their daughter, center, after leaving her at a park overnight in West Palm Beach, Florida on March 22, 2019. (Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office)

A couple who seemingly forgot about and left one of their seven children in a local park overnight are now are facing charges of child neglect, authorities said.

Jolana Larose Alexandre, 27, and Makenson Alexandre, 34, were arrested and charged on Saturday, March 23, for leaving their two-year-old daughter at Palm Beach County’s Haverhill Park for hours, each receiving one count of neglect of a child. From around 7:00 p.m. on Friday, the toddler had been left alone overnight and into the next day.

Wearing a pink short-sleeve shirt, a white and gold tutu, and clear plastic shoes, deputies found the girl wandering alone and began to searching for her parents. They canvassed the area, making loud announcements and initiated a reverse 911 call but to no avail. 

After checking with 911 dispatchers, deputies found that no one had reported the girl missing. At 11:40 a.m. Saturday, the mother of the child contacted authorities to claim her, according to deputies.

After being interviewed by detectives, who responded to the address in the 5000 block of Stacy Street, both parents stated they did not realize they left their child at the park. The toddler had been missing for more than fourteen hours.

The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is currently caring for the little girl. The parents’ seven other children have also since been removed from the home and their parents’ care.  

Missing Children

There were 464,324 missing children reported in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center in 2017, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Under federal law, when a child is reported missing to law enforcement they must be entered into the database.

In 2016, there were 465,676 entries. “This number represents reports of missing children. That means if a child runs away multiple times in a year, each instance would be entered into NCIC separately and counted in the yearly total. Likewise, if an entry is withdrawn and amended or updated, that would also be reflected in the total,” the center noted.

In 2017, the center said it assisted officers and families with the cases of more than 27,000 missing children.

In those cases, 91 percent were endangered runaways, and 5 percent were family abductions.

About one in seven children reported missing to the center in 2017 were likely victims of child sex trafficking.

Nancy McBride, the executive director of Florida Outreach at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said that most of the runaways involve technology.

“(Technology) has great benefits and some potential risks,” McBride told USA Today in 2017. “It’s important to stay plugged into their lives.”

Tech is utilized by online predators, McBride said, who exploit gaps when the child’s relationship with their parents isn’t strong.

[California Only] According to the California Department of Justice (pdf), in 2018 there were 76,923 reports of a missing child who has left home without the knowledge or permission of parents or guardian and 269 reports of children missing due to suspicious circumstances in California.

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