Updated at 4:45pm
A North Augusta mother is in jail after witnesses say she left her nine-year-old daughter at a nearby park, for hours at a time, more than once.
The mother, Debra Harrell has been booked for unlawful conduct towards a child.
The incident report goes into great detail, even saying the mother confessed to leaving her nine-year-old daughter at a park while she went to work.
The little girl is fine, but some say an area the mother thought was safe could have turned dangerous.
It's an afternoon of fun in the water at Summerfield Park in North Augusta, but investigators say it wasn't enjoyable for one little girl.
Public Safety investigators say 46-year-old Debra Harrell confessed to leaving her nine-year-old daughter alone in the park for several house while she went to work.
"I understand the mom may have been in a difficult situation, not having someone to watch the child, but at the same time, you've got to find somebody," said Lesa Lamback, who enjoys the park with her family.
Police say Harrell's daughter told a witness that her mother would drop her off all the time to play at the park while Harrell was at work.
According to the incident report, the 9-year-old little girl says she would come to the McDonald's inside a Walmart for lunch, which is about a mile and a half walk from the park where she was found.
"Some people may look at it as a babysitter," said Tonya Cullum.
Cullum works at Sara's Childcare and Preschool.
She says they found that during the summer months, their attendance numbers go down.
Cullum said, "the parents can't afford to keep them in there. They have to keep in during school time because we pick them up at school, make sure they got a safe place, but during the summertime, it's like find some family, grandparents or even let them stay home by themselves."
Harrell's daughter is okay, but some say things could have been worse.
Cullum said, "what if a man would have came and just snatched her because you have all kinds of trucks that come up in here so you really don't know."
Lamback said, "you cannot just leave your child alone at a public place, especially. This day and time, you never know who's around. Good, bad, it's just not safe."
The girl is in the custody of the Department of Social Services.
South Carolina Department of Social Services has several programs and services for child care. You can apply for them by clicking on this link
A North Augusta mother has been charged with Unlawful Conduct Towards a Child.
Debra Lynn Harrell, 46, of the 1200 block of Weston Street, was charged after it was found that she left her 9-year-old daughter to play in a park while she was at work. She was arrested Monday afternoon.
According to a North Augusta Department of Public Safety (NADPS) police report, a woman noticed a small black girl playing at a park on the 700 block of Old Edgefield Road, in North Augusta, around 9:30 a.m. Monday morning.
The woman told an officer she did not notice an adult in the area. She said she left the park to go to work. The woman said the little girl was still at the park when she got off of work.
The woman said she asked the little girl where her parents was, and the little girl reportedly told her that her mother dropped her off at the park Monday morning before going to work. The child reportedly went on to tell the woman that she is dropped off all the time to play at the park while her mother is at work.
When the woman asked the little girl what she eats for lunch, the girl said the "Feed A Child" people come by or she walks over to McDonalds in Wal-Mart.
The officer met with the child and the child told the officer the same story about being dropped off at the park. The child also told the officer that no adult was at the park with her.
The child was taken to NADPS headquarters. Harrell was contacted by officers and, once she arrived, was questioned and confessed to left her child.
Harrell was booked on the charged with Unlawful Conduct Towards a Child. The South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) took custody of the little girl.
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