Crime

A 3-year-old was gone for hours. Her babysitters never called police or looked for her

When Kennewick police officers arrived at Robert and April Still’s apartment Wednesday, the couple hadn’t started looking for the missing child they were babysitting.

That visit from officers was nearly three hours after an alert citizen rescued the 3-year-old girl when she darted into traffic on 10th Avenue.

Two days later, Robert Still, 59, and April Still, 65, remained in Benton County jail on a 72-hour investigative hold while prosecutors decide whether to charge them with second-degree criminal mistreatment. Their bond is set at $500.

Neither of the Stills has a criminal history.

The young girl and an 18-month-old sibling were turned over to Child Protective Services while an investigation is underway.

Girl was dirty and hungry

The 3-year-old was dirty, extremely hungry and had shoes on that were too large and on the wrong feet when she was found running into traffic about 9:30 a.m. in the 1200 block of West 10th, according to court records.

She also had a rash and bug bites on her stomach, back and hands.

The girl’s mother told police she dropped the child off at the Stills’ apartment on the 1100 block of West 10th Avenue before heading to work.

It’s uncertain when the young girl slipped outside, but officers spent nearly two hours with the girl looking for where she lived.

After an exhaustive search and not hearing from the child’s parents, police turned to Facebook, where they posted her photo.

The plea for help finding the girl’s missing parents was shared nearly 9,000 time and received 1,400 comments and 2,300 reactions.

Grandmother came to police

Along with several tips, the plea brought the girl’s grandmother to the Kennewick police station within 20 minutes of the post. She told officers that the Stills were the girl’s babysitters.

When officers arrived at their apartment shortly before noon, Robert Still was at the kitchen table, and April Still was still in her nightgown, according to police.

April Still reportedly told police she didn’t wake up until the child’s mother called to say the girl was missing. Neither had called police or started looking for the girl after the mother’s call, court documents said.

The rash on the girl turned out to be more serious than initially believed, Kennewick police said. They learned later from Child Protective Services that the girl had scabies, which is an infestation of mites.

CPS workers then asked police to check on a second child, the 18-month-old sibling, at the mother’s home. Police said it was “filthy and was in no condition for a child to be living in.”

That child was also turned over to CPS.

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