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Sanford woman arrested after young daughter found near busy street digging in trash

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SANFORD, Fla. - A Sanford mother was arrested Monday after her daughter was found alone along a busy street early Saturday morning.

The child was found near US 17-92 and 27th Street, across the street from the hotel where she was living.

Authorities said the girl was rescued after a man spotted her digging in trash and trying to get into a locked door of a Sunoco gas station.

Adrian Hodges was on his way to a bus stop about 4:30 a.m. Saturday when he heard a child's voice coming from the parking lot of the gas station.

"She would've died.  She was running in toward 17-92 four times," he said. "I kept her from going into 17-92 while I was in the median."

Hodges told Channel 9 he waited for 30 minutes to flag down a police officer.

"Her appearance was bad," said Hodges. "Her hair was matted, looked like mange. She looked bad."

The girl's mother, Jessica Flores, was arrested on child neglect charges.

 Investigators said they found Flores inside a room at the Value Place Hotel hours after the child was discovered.

According to an arrest report, Flores and her two children were living in a room on the third floor of the hotel.

Investigators said the young girl, who was not tall enough to reach the lock on the door, walked out of the room and onto US 17-92.

According to the arrest report, there was trash all over the hotel room.

Flores told police she was a heavy sleeper and didn't know her child walked out.

"That's pure neglect if you ask me," said Hodges.

Neighbors told WFTV the girl is about 4 years old.

Channel 9's Karla Ray is at the scene. Follow @KRayWFTV for live updates and watch Eyewitness News at 4 p.m. for more on this story.