Jessica Anne King, 38, told police officers that she was sick, so she let her son go gather candy alone, according to an arrest report obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.
A man and woman found the boy around 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 31, dressed as an astronaut and wandering around about a half-mile from his house. He told them he knew his address, but not how to get back there, and said he’d been out “since the sun was out” and that his mother was at home “resting.”
The pair said that they took the boy home but along the way they picked up a bottle of water, which the boy “immediately chugged,” after he told them he was thirsty.
Once at King’s house, they confronted the mother and called the police.
The report described King as “seem[ing] unfazed by her child being alone.”
She told officers she had instructed her boy to return home by 8 p.m., but she didn’t realize he wasn’t home on time because she was sleeping, reported WESH.
King was arrested on a charge of child neglect and was released from the Orange County Jail after posting bond. The Florida Department of Children and Families has launched an investigation.
The woman who took the boy home told WOFL, seen in the video embedded above, that something terrible could have happened to the boy.
“It’s dark and our neighborhoods aren’t super lit, and there’s not tons of street lights. A lot of bad things could have happened,” the woman said. She didn’t want to be identified.
She said her son spotted the kid and alerted her.
“He seemed very thirsty. He kept asking to go back by the house that gave him water earlier in the evening and he knew where that was,” she said. “We were thankful for that because it helped us get him home. We walked him about 30 to 45 minutes home to his very dark house.”
When they finally got to the boy’s house, the woman claimed that King didn’t seem concerned.
“She opened the door, not even a full open. Just like a little bit said thanks and waved her hand and told the little kid to go to bed,” she said. “So sad. I feel like even if you’re sick as a mom, I’m a mom, you just sometimes take some Ibuprofen, make the most of it for a couple of houses.”