|Abandoned Toddler ID'd, Parents Arrested|
|By GILLIAN MOHNEY (@gillianmohney)||Apr 6, 2013, 1:49 PM|
Authorities in South Carolina have identified the toddler who was found abandoned on a stranger's doorstep with a note on her diaper that read "Call DFAC" or Division of Family and Child Services, and arrested her parents.
After four days of investigating, the Anderson County Sheriff's Office said that the child is 4-year-old Zoe Brown of Marietta, Ga.
Brown's parents -- 31-year-old Alonzo Brown and 37-year-old Tongela Denise McBride -- were arrested Friday night on charges of unlawful neglect of a child.
Chad McBride, the public information office for the Anderson County Sherriff's Office, said that having the girl's story shared through social media and the news media helped lead to the discovery of the toddler's identify and the arrest of her parents.
According to Chad McBride, who is not related to Denise McBride, posts on the Anderson County Sheriff's Office's Facebook page featuring Zoe Brown's picture were shared more than 2 million times.
"Just putting the story out there and all over the country, it was the media that led to the individuals that called us," McBride said. "For a couple days we didn't have anything."
Zoe Brown was found on a resident's doorstep late Tuesday night in her stroller wearing a shirt adorned with the phrase "Auntie Loves Me."
Roy Campbell, the home's owner, told the Independent Mail newspaper of Anderson that he found Zoe Brown after he heard the doorbell ring, but didn't see anyone at the door.
"I heard the neighbor's dogs barking so I went around the back of the house to see if they might have gone there," Campbell told the Independent Mail. "When I didn't see anyone, I went back to the front door and noticed that there was a baby in the stroller."
After Campbell found the girl, the police were immediately called and she was taken to a local hospital where doctors determined she was in good health, authorities said.
Although she is 4 years old, Zoe Brown wears clothes made for a 24-month-old and has scars on her chest and neck that are consistent with past heart surgery, McBride said.
McBride said the story of the mystery "little Jane Doe" has galvanized the community and many people called offering to adopt the toddler.
"We've had an enormous amount of people calling -- the lead investigator, she was having a hard time focusing on the case," McBride said. "They [were] so many people calling her and me [saying] 'We want to adopt a child.'"
The girl is currently in a foster home under the care of the South Carolina Department of Social Services.
McBride said she will remain there until the DSS can determine whether there is a family member who can provide her with a safe environment.
Under South Carolina's Daniel's Law, a caregiver will not be prosecuted if they abandon a newborn baby at any state-sanctioned "safe haven" such as a hospital, church or school. The law is only applicable for children under 30 days old.