CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — A mother and father accused of leaving their 2-year-old child alone in South Carolina while they were on a trip to New York were arrested on Monday.
According to the Charleston Police Department, officers were called to an apartment complex around 2 p.m. on Nov. 17 after someone reported a toddler alone in an apartment. A witness told officers that the child’s father, Donald Gekonge, 24, sent a text saying he was in New York for business.
The apartment manager was unable to contact anyone in the apartment, so management conducted “an emergency walk-through.” Inside, they found the child sleeping on a bed in the living room.
When police entered, the child woke up and “immediately reached for his empty water bottle.” With the exception of a dirty diaper, police said the child seemed to be in good health.
Foster care services responded to the scene and changed the diaper, put fresh clothes on the child, and took him to a local children’s hospital. Police tried to reach Gekonge and the child’s mother, Darline Aldrich, 24, several times, but were initially unsuccessful. Gekonge later called the apartment complex and spoke with an officer.
According to the report, Gekonge said he left the apartment around 6 a.m. and that he was only “a few states away.” He later admitted that he was in New York “on business” and that he did not know who was taking care of the child, but assumed it was Aldrich. His story changed again when he admitted that Aldrich was also in New York “for an emergency.”
Both Gekonge and Aldrich were arrested on charges of unlawful conduct toward a child. Gekonge was being held on a $50,000 bond, and Aldrich was being held on a $75,000 bond.