South Carolina couple arrested for abandoning their 2-year-old at home while they visited New York, police say

News & Politics

A couple in Charlestown, South Carolina, was arrested for abandoning their 2-year-old child while they allegedly went on a trip to New York.

The Charleston Police Department said officers were called to the couple’s home after an apartment manager called them and reported that he had found a child by itself in the apartment on Thursday.

Police arrived at the apartment complex at about 2 p.m. where the manager told them that they had tried to reach 24-year-old Donald Gekonge and were unable to do so. When they conducted an emergency walkthrough of his apartment, they discovered the child sleeping in a bed in the living room.

Police said when they walked into the room, the child “immediately reached for his empty water bottle.” They noted that no one else was in the room to supervise the child but that he looked to be in good condition.

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They said they spoke to an unnamed person who told them they had received a message from Gekonge saying that he was in New York.

They were once again unable to reach him.

EMS and social workers came to the apartment and changed the child’s diaper, which was soiled, and provided him with clean clothing. The child was taken to MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital for additional care.

Gekonge initially said that he wasn’t sure who was taking care of his son and said he believed his mother, 24-year-old Darlene Aldrich, might be taking care of him. Later, he admitted she was in New York also but claimed it was because of an emergency situation.

The two were later charged with one count of unlawful conduct toward a child after being booked into the Al Cannon Detention Center on Monday.

Aldrich is being held on $75,000 bond, and Gekonge is being held on $50,000 bond.

Here’s a local news video about the incident:

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