Woman gets arrested for letting 4-year-old play outside alone

Mom Facing Charges After Allowing 4-Year-Old to Play Outside Alone
Mom Facing Charges After Allowing 4-Year-Old to Play Outside Alone

Sonya Hendren is currently facing jail time after after her neighbors reported her to the police for child endangerment.

The reason? She allowed her 4-year-old son, Tomahawk, play alone at the outdoor playground in her gated apartment complex-- 120 feet from her front door.

SEE ALSO: Mother arrested for son's unexcused absences from school

"He was outside and the neighbor called the cops on us," said the 37-year-old Sacramento mother, who describes her style of parenting as "free-range."

%shareLinks-quote="I breastfed for 28 months. I cloth diapered, and, you know, obviously avoided helicopter parenting. I'm doing everything." type="quote" author="Sonya Hendren" authordesc="" isquoteoftheday="false"%

Tomahawk, a curious little boy who loves the outdoors, has recently displayed signs indicating that he is capable of outdoor alone time, according to Hendren. Oftentimes when enjoying his new independence, Tomahawk would still return home every few minutes to reassure his mother he was okay.

But one day, neighbors Sonja and Brandi Horrell became worried when they saw the boy outside by himself. After talking to him and asking him to go home, to which the boy responded no, they went back in their apartment and called child protective services.

Tomahawk was taken away following the incident. Hendren has regained custody of her son, but their situation continues to be monitored by CPS, even though the charges have since been reduced to misdemeanors.

Though they claim they only called CPS because they were worried about Tomahawk being left unattended and meant the family no harm. "I just thought she would get a warning," Sonja Horrell explained, "and then she wouldn't let him be out alone again."

However, both women are defending their actions. "I'm not mad she has to do things now to teach her, because what if someone did take him?" said Brandi Horrell.

%shareLinks-quote="How would she feel if he was on an AMBER Alert? Then what would she be feeling?" type="quote" author="Sonja Horrel" authordesc="neighbor" isquoteoftheday="false"% Hendren continues fighting the charges, and recently rejected a plea deal of 30 days in jail. Her attorney says if the prosecution is to proceed, they must prove Hendren willfully put her son in danger. %shareLinks-quote="If this happened 20 years ago, we wouldn't be here. There wouldn't be a criminal case filed." type="quote" author="Hendren's attorney" authordesc="" isquoteoftheday="false"% And as for Tomahawk -- In the midst of all the madness, he says he still loves his mom "like, times twenty. Maybe a thousand."

Not even celebrities are exempt from suspicion from child protective services:

Will and Jada Smith Under Investigation by Child Protective Services
Will and Jada Smith Under Investigation by Child Protective Services

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