A Cary, North Carolina mother allegedly locked her 10-year-old son outside of their home for five hours while she went out for a Christmas party with her other children, the News & Observer reported.
Susan Dowless, 43, was arrested on Wednesday on child abuse charges after someone called the cops in response to seeing her son wandering around outside the home by himself. It was reportedly under 40 degrees that day, and the boy was allegedly not dressed for the cold weather.
Her eldest son, 21-year-old Gilmore Smith, has defended Doless. He told WRAL that his mother’s arrest has stemmed from a misunderstanding. He said that his mom wouldn’t lock out the boy on purpose. Instead, he claims his brother was out at a friend’s house and that he and his family assumed he would be staying there.
"Child abuse? I don't really see how it's child abuse," he said.
"We weren't trying to abandon him or anything,” he said, tearfully. “We thought he was going to be with his friends, like he normally was."
Smith told WRAL that his mom was a single mother who was doing the best she could.
The 10-year-old is now in the care of a relative. He is reportedly doing well. Dowless is not allowed to contact him while the incident is under investigation, according to the New York Daily News.
On Christmas, before her arrest, Dowless posted a photograph of her and three of her sons with the caption, “From my family to yours. Merry Christmas to everyone...hope yall have a wonderful day and a blessed day!!!”
[Photo: Wake City-County Bureau of Identification]