Babysitter charged with neglect after child seen walking on Hwy - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Babysitter charged with neglect after child seen walking on Hwy 58

Posted: Updated:
HARRISON, TN (WRCB) -

A Harrison man is facing charges after a child he was babysitting was found walking along Highway 58.

50-year-old Fredrick Vanarsdale is charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect. 

Court records obtained by Channel 3 show Vanarsdale was watching the child for a friend at nearby apartment when he somehow got out of his sight.

"I can understand that children can get away from you quick, but that child had to be missing for quite a while and not attended to by the adult he was left with," Dean Tatum, a neighbor said.

Neighbors like Tatum are having a hard time understanding how the boy made it some 900 feet away from the apartment.

Court documents reveal a woman driving on Highway 58 saw the child walking and stopped. The 6-year-old told her he was heading to where his mom worked and that his babysitter locked him out of the house.

"God was watching over that child that a responsible adult saw that and knew he needed to be attended to. To me, that woman is a hero for that child, basically," Tatum said.

He was taken to a nearby fire station where a woman showed up saying the child's babysitter called her about the missing boy. 

Vanarsdale told police he let the child go outside and play and would check on him every 10 minutes, according to court documents. When asked why he didn't call police when he couldn't find the boy, the man told them he didn't think about it and was then arrested. 

"He could have been hit and killed. What even scares me more is child abduction nowadays and we're talking anything from sex trades to slavery trades and like that. There's too many scenarios of what could have happened to that poor child," Tatum said.

Channel 3 stopped by Vanarsdale's apartment where neighbors said the woman and her child were staying. A woman opened the door and said the child's mother didn't want to talk about what happened.

Still, neighbors are glad the little boy wasn't hurt.

Family members of Vanarsdale said they're surprised this happened and don't agree with the charges filed against him. 

Vanarsdale is being held in the Hamilton County jail on a $30,000 bond. He's expected to be in court on September 13th. 

Powered by Frankly