ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orange County mother is in jail after allegedly leaving her 3-year-old home alone to go to a bar. The young boy was found later that night, wandering in the middle of the street alone.
Over the weekend, 3-year-old Daniel Finnell was found wandering the middle of a dark street, headed directly for busy Hoffner Avenue.
Deputies said 24-year-old Nicole Finnell said she left her son with a babysitter on Saturday evening, but her father, Scott Finnell, told WFTV that he didn't know of anyone watching the child.
Nicole Finnell is now facing child neglect charges. She is still at the Orange County Jail on a $1,000 bond.
Her father, who is now caring for the child, told WFTV he's not bailing her out.
Caleb Rosario called 911 after he and his sister spotted the child wandering the street alone on Redditt Road in the middle of the night.
He could barely believe it.
Operator: 911 what's your emergency?
Caller: Hi. We found a baby running in the middle of the street.
Operator: Like a baby, baby?
Caller: Like a baby, baby yeah. He was just running barefoot in the middle of the street.
"I'm surprised the baby wasn't dead already," said Rosario.
The child was just a short walk from busy Hoffner Avenue, a street that easily could have been deadly, had he wandered that far before being noticed.
"If he'd have got on Hoffner I'd have been getting a call I had a dead grandson," said Scott Finnell.
Deputies arrived to find the nearby home of Nicole Finnell with the front door wide open, but no one home.
Inside, deputies found evidence to identify Nicole Finnell as the child's mother.
During the investigation, deputies said Finnell showed up with a carload of friends, but told them to keep driving.
A deputy pulled them over though and found out the young mother left the child alone to go partying at the local club, as well as a house party.
"These are pretty serious charges," a WFTV reporter said to the Nicole Finnell's father, Scott Finnell.
"It is and that's why I have made no effort to bail her out of jail," he replied.
He believes instead of watching her son, Finnell was at a club called Cowboys.
"Apparently she waited until he went to sleep and then left him here and locked the door, and he can unlock the door," said Scott Finnell.
If Nicole Finnell bonds out of jail, she'll be on home confinement.
On Monday night, the child was placed in his grandfather's custody.
Scott Finnell said this kind of behavior is not typical of his daughter.