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3-year-old found wandering alone

Livingston County Sheriff Tom Dougherty said it was pouring rain and dark when the three-year old girl was found wandering down Garden Street in Lima.

A neighbor found her and called police.  Deputies then went door-to-door and called neighbors to find the parents of the missing child.

They located the grandfather but said he gave them a false name.  He led them to the child's mother.  Both she and the grandfather are now facing charges.

The mother, Helen Hotchkiss, 28, is charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child for not reporting the child missing. She told police the family was camping nearby and that the child got out of her tent.  Police said Hotchkiss told them she didn't think to call 911 to report her daughter missing.

Melvin Hotchkiss, 53, is charged with Criminal Impersonation for giving police the wrong name.  They tell us he thought he was wanted on a warrant and that's why he gave the wrong name.

Neighbors said this isn't the first time the little girl has wandered away.  They said her family owns property off of Garden Street and they camp there.

Another neighbor spotted the child in the middle of the same road a week ago and approached her to find out where her mother was.  He said she ran back down the road and into the area where her family owns property.

Livingston County Sheriff Tom Dougherty said he is relieved the child is okay and credits the neighbor who found her.  Dougherty said: "very bad things could've happened to this little girl, if not for that neighbor.

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Washington Times