3-year-old boy found running on highway, mom arrested for neglect

LITTLE RIVER, SC (WMBF) – A 26-year-old woman has been arrested after officers with the Horry County Police Department say she left her 3-year-old and 4-month-old children home alone to have drinks at a bar Sunday.

According to a police report, officers with HCPD responded to a 911 call regarding a child found along Highway 90 around 11:30 p.m. Nov. 21. A witness told police they were driving down Highway 90 when they saw a small child running in the roadway.

The witness said they had to swerve into another lane in order to miss hitting the child with their vehicle, and then pulled off to the side of the road to grab the child.

Officers instructed the witness to follow them into two subdivisions to search for the child's parents, and found the front door of a house along Carriage Lake Drive open, according to the police report. When they entered the home, they found pictures of the child along with a 4-month-old baby asleep in his crib.

While in the home, officers found phone numbers, which they began calling in an attempt to find the children's parents. They were able to reach the grandparents, who were out of town. The grandparents then gave the officers a phone number to reach the mother of the children.

Officers were able to locate Kathleen Agnes Salling of Little River, who told police she was on her way home. Officers then contacted the Department of Social Services.

When Salling arrived at the residence around 1:30 a.m. Monday morning, officers asked if she knew why they were there. According to the police report, Salling replied "Yes, because I left my children home alone."

Salling originally claimed she left the house to help a friend, but later confessed to police she actually went to a bar to have a couple of drinks.

Officers were able to determine Salling was gone for at least two hours. She was arrested and charged with neglect of a child. At that time, DSS took custody of the children.

Salling is being held at J. Reuben Long Detention Center for unlawful neglect of a child or helpless person by legal custodian.

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