Athens mom charged with child neglect; 4-year-old daughter found - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Athens mom charged with child neglect; 4-year-old daughter found walking alone

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ATHENS, TN. (WRCB)  --  Candace Cook, 22, of Athens, says she woke up Monday morning and couldn't find her 4-year-old daughter Jaylon.

"I woke up from sleeping the night before and I looked on the couch and my kid was gone," says Cook.  

She started looking for Jaylon but someone else found her first.

"My mom called me and told me that the police had her," Cook says.

The police report says a driver found the 4-year-old walking on the side of the road near Million Street alone and half dressed. An officer tried to get Jaylon back home, but she didn't know where she lived.

Cook believes one of her roommates left the door unlocked.

"I'm thinking that's how she got out," says Cook.

An officer took Jaylon to the police department. They soon found out they'd seen this little girl before.

"Same thing, different section of town," says Captain Frank Horning.  

Cook says they had just moved from her mother's house on Tellico Avenue, where young Jaylon had wandered off twice before in late June. She says they rigged that home with dead bolt locks, chains and alarms.

"We keep it locked, ever since she got out the first few times," explains Cook.

However, they haven't had the chance to put more child proof locks on their new home.

Cook is charged with child neglect and the Department of Children Services took her daughter away.

"Mom was just at home, she was asleep not paying any attention to her child," Horning says.  

Cook says she'll do everything she can to get her daughter back.

"I've never hurt that kid. That kid is my life," she says.

She says she will have to take parenting classes before she can get her daughter back.   

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