Melissa Henderson is facing up to five years in jail after her four-year-old walked out of the house while she was out at work. The single mom had left the job of babysitting her four other children to her eldest daughter who was 14.
In May 2020, a cop was called on her when Linley, her eldest, lost track of her youngest brother, 4, while babysitting. The daycare center had been shutdown during the lockdown.
As she was a full-time student, her attention was divided and she did not see Thaddeus leaving the house to play with his friend outside in Blairsville, Georgia. 15 minutes later, Linley noticed that he was missing and found him at his friend’s house on the same street.
The neighbor, however, had called the cops on the single mom.
Henderson was handcuffed in front of her daughter two weeks later by Deputy Sheriff Marc Pilote who believed he saw a “pattern” as Thaddeus once wandered out of the house a year earlier at age 3. Five cop cars was sent over to arrest her and Henderson told Reason, “I almost don’t have words for how low it made me feel.”
“To truly feel in the bottom of my heart that, if I’m anything, it’s a good mother and everything you do is for your kids. To be stripped of that to the point where you are handcuffed in front of them.”
Henderson had a mugshot taken, photographed, fingerprinted and wore prisonwear in a cell. She recalled, “I remember curling up in a ball in the corner and just wanting to hide.”
Her ex-husband came to bail them out. Yet, the case has continued to drag on for two years now. District attorney Jeff Langley reasoned that Thaddeus was “wandering naked in a thunderstorm” but the boy was, as a matter of factly, waring a shirt on a sunny day.
He continued to say that Linley had “some measure of learning disability” which refers to her ADHS.
Henderson continued to say that she was a star student with a GPA of 4.45, the vice president of the 4-H club, had broken the school records in varsity track, completed the Red Cross Childcare program, and is certified in CPR.
David DeLugas, her attorney who also found Parents USA that focus on fighting for cases much like Henderson’s, quoted the Georgia Supreme Court’s ruling in 1997.
The court ruled it as arbitrary and subjective in 1997 when her younger child died in a tragic accident after she left her 11-year-old to babysit.
Georgia’s guidelines for child protection also stated that teenagers aged 13 and above, given they have “maturity skills” and received “a course on babysitting” which Linley fulfills.
DeLugas spoke to FOX News, “They claim that the same thing happened a year earlier. So you’re saying a year earlier, she left her children in charge of her then 13-year-old, almost 14-year-old, and somehow two rights make a wrong.”