Wandering Child Leads to Westport Mother’s Arrest

The child appeared to be approximately two years old and was wearing adult slippers, long pajama pants, a long sleeve t-shirt and no jacket, police said.


Westport police responded on Saturday to Murvon Court in Westport after a citizen reported that a young girl was wondering in the roadway, police said.

The girl appeared to be approximately two years old and was wearing adult slippers, long pajama pants, a long sleeve t-shirt and no jacket, the police report stated.

The temperate outside was in the 20’s and the road was covered in snow from the evening before, police said. Neighbors reportedly took the child in and notified police.

Police determined that the mother left her two children, ages two and 15, home alone while she went to the store. The two year old was asleep at the time and apparently she wandered out of the house when the older child fell asleep, police said.

Westport police charged 43-year-old Tinatin Crouch, of 12 Murvon Court, Westport, with risk of injury to a child, according to the arrest report.

Crouch was released from custody after posting a $500 cash-only bond. She is due in Nowalk Superior Court February 5.

Rebecca S. Brotherston Ryken January 31, 2013 at 08:23 AM
The older "child" is of age that educated childrens advocators claim to be responsable and mature enough to provide care for another child. I babysat from the time I was 12 from infants on up and there were never any incidents that put those children at risk. I have knowledge of young babysitters that span many years and I know of no child(ren) that were ever harmed or neglected. This was not an act of negligence or misplaced trust. I question what knowledge (first hand) do you have of the relationship between an older sibling and small child? And how fortunate you must be that you have the luxery of being home with your child or have a great caregiver at your beck and call. You seem to have all the answers yet know little about what your saying. "History repeating itself"? Out of millions of people there stands out two similar incidents so it must be an epidemic of lazy, ignorant parenting. "We live in America, police cannot arrest anyone at any time just for fun"? Hmmm, debateable. Maybe they like you are perfect parents and they could not see past thier indignent noses the true nature of what occured. Allow me to clue you in. A mother home with a sleeping toddler and teenager who wasn't feeling well needed to go to the store.The father was due home any minute and mom puts teen in charge of baby. Teen falls asleep, baby wakes up, heads out the door. Could of happened to anyone. Grandma, Nanny and yes, God forbid, even you. Unless you and yours keep the exact same hours.
MaryJo Gavigan January 31, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Legal age in Connecticut to babysit is 16. While most of us don't agree that is the law.
Rebecca S. Brotherston Ryken January 31, 2013 at 01:24 PM
MaryJo, "According to Connecticut Attorney General's Office Child Protection Department "Connecticut law does not specify at what age a child may be left home alone. When deciding whether or not to leave a child home alone, a parent should consider the child's age. Many experts believe that a children should be at least 12 years of age before they are allowed to stay home alone. Experts also believe that children should be over the age of 15 before caring for a younger sibling. Additionally, parents should consider other factor's when deciding if their child is ready to stay at home alone. A child's maturity should be considered. Also, a child's ability to handle urgent situations should be reviewed. A parent should also take into account the environment in which the child will be alone, and the child's feelings about being alone." Here is a link to that information. http://www.ct.gov/ag/cwp/view.asp?A=2095&Q=295826
Canaanite January 31, 2013 at 02:30 PM
You can question what you like, but I have a great deal of experience w children of all ages. That's exactly why I'm confident in what I'm saying. You may disagree & that's fine, but then don't be surprised when something like this happens. What difference does it make in the world that your ONE child is the ONE out of millions to whom something happens as a result of a careless decision YOU made? I would bet that it would mean more to YOU than anything else on this earth. Easy to say it's statistically insignificant when it's someone ELSE'S child you're talking about. You think ANY of the parents who lost children in Newtown care that what happened to their kids is a one in a million occurance?? Do you honestly think that anyone whose child is kidnapped while walking home is only one of maybe 10 in the country - out of who knows how many - who that happens to every year? If any of that happened to YOUR child you'd beat yourself up with the guilt switch for the rest of your life because you'd wish you hade made different decisions. I'm not a perfect parent & never claimed to be - I only said that I would never ever leave my young child with a young teen. A teen who isn't feeling well and falls asleep when he or she should be watching out and listening for their sibling doesn't sound to me to be the reliable sort - ready to jump into action should the toddler need assistance. And clearly wasn't, since the child wandered outside in 20 degree weather without the teen knowing.
Canaanite January 31, 2013 at 02:30 PM
The father being due home any minute is irrelevent because anything can happen to delay him (or the mother coming back from a quick trip at the store, too!) - he was not there when the mother left. Period. The teen and toddler were left alone. Door or doors were not secured. I assure you, there is no way on this earth my child would sneak out of my house - because at that age, it's essential to know where they are at all times and to keep an eye on them.
Canaanite January 31, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Would your opinion change if the child wasn't "fine"??? That is the question! I would bet it would! Just because things turned out "fine" THIS time doesn't mean her decision making ability was at its sharpest.
Canaanite January 31, 2013 at 02:38 PM
And other than Hilary Clinton, WHO are the others who subscribe to the "it takes a village" notion??? Please . . . everything in this society is "ME ME ME". "Not MY kid", etc. etc. There is NO ONE who trusts their child to the proverbial village. Your comment about the mother not waking the sleeping teen - if that is what happened - just made me more adament about my position. What responsible mother walks out the door with two sleeping kids without alerting them to her leaving??? Are you kidding?
Canaanite January 31, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Have you never watched those hidden camera shows where parents were absolutely adament about their child's level of responsibility . . . their child would never cheat, or drive with someone who was intoxicated, or make fun of someone else, etc . . . And then it was proven that they did?? That is one of the problems in this society . . . everyone thinks their child is more mature, or more intelligent, more talented, blah blah blah. Spare me. Children are children, and it's been scientifically proven on many occasions that the part of their brains responsible for analytical thinking and working through consequences is still developing. So teaching responsibility is fine, on an age appropriate basis, but putting them in charge of another life is not something they are ready for at that age.
Kari Ann January 31, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Dear Ms. Canaanite, have you never ever made a mistake in your life. You don't text while driving, you never drink one glass of wine and drive down the street, you go to church every Sunday. This lady clearly used bad judgement when she left the house and didn't take the two year old with her. I will aggree with you on many of the point you have made, however, we really don't know what is going on in her house. Maybe she is a stay at home Mom, and can't afford daycare or a nanny? We shouldn't judge, unless we can see the other three fingers we have on our hand thats pointing back at us! Maybe we should have more compassion for our neighbors, and ask them if they need help, to call? Rebecca's link is a very good one, maybe we need a person like yourself to go to Hartford and Lobby for stricker rules on this matter, because it seems as if you know a lot about this issue. We should be lucky as parents to have such an intellengent New Cannan Person such as yourself working on our behalf in the State Capital in Hartford!
Canaanite January 31, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Why no, I actually don't text while driving, and if I do have one drink before driving down the street, I am not impaired and have not broken the law. We have legal limits to how much one can drink you know - whereas texting and talking on a cellphone while driving is outright banned and I am not one of those who feel above the law. However, I am not pointing any fingers that I also don't point at myself - as I said. I would never make the decision this mother made. And I never said that makes me better than her . . . but you clearly are ascribing very holier than thou attributes to me. However, I am also not the one we are talking about here. I am not the one who got myself arrested. It was poor judgement - no matter what her circumstances. The father was supposedly due home any minute, so he could have picked up what she needed. Or she could have waited out those few minutes until he got back, no? Or, she could have waited until the toddler woke up and taken him/her with her, while the teen stayed behind. She could have asked a neighbor to stop over for a few minutes (assuming she subscribes to the village theory). Or, she could have called Peapod. So many alternatives. How do you know I have no compassion? You have no idea what I think about people in need. My philosophical emotions toward those in trouble is not in question here. I am not calling you out on your either just because you disagree. Keep on topic and stick to the issue at hand.
Canaanite January 31, 2013 at 03:33 PM
I agree, I would make a great lobbyist, but it so happens I believe in less government, not more, so I am not in favor of stricter "rules" - but of more common sense.
Rebecca S. Brotherston Ryken January 31, 2013 at 05:32 PM
Let's get one thing straight. I happen to agree with alot of what your saying and in all honesty I didn't leave my children with anyone except my mother and mother-in-law when they were babies but that's not to say that this mother is wrong to have her fifteen year old care for the sibliing. I do not know this family or what, why and how they choose to live their lives and quit frankly it's none of my business. The point I have been trying to make all along is that I don't feel that the mother should of been arrested. She made a mistake. She wasn't down at he corner bar or passed out somewhere, she went to the store. My youngest daughters are less than a year apart and one day our family went on a picnic at a lake and I handed the 12 month old to her dad so I could find a shady spot to breast fead the new baby. Just as I was settling in I happened to glance over to where everyone was sitting at a picnic table and I didn't see my daughter anywhere but my husband was in full view. Just then I heard a car start up and noticed two ladies about to pull out of their parking spot. Intuition or what have you made me scream at the top of my lungs STOP!! My baby girl was sitting right behind one of the tires of the car. I hadn't told my husband what I was doing and he was involved in a discussion and didn't notice that our daughter had crawled away. Stupid? Definitley. Should my husband and I been charged and arrested? No.
Rebecca S. Brotherston Ryken January 31, 2013 at 05:43 PM
You don't know the maturity of her fifteen year old and she or he may very well be a fantastic babysitter. The neighbors could of made attempts to find out where the child belonged before getting the authorities involved and the media, well, let's just say I have very little respect for the way many of the reporters like to twist things into a big, ugly mess for hype. I don't judge this mother whatsoever for what I know nothing about and I live in a pretty big glass house to be throwing stones. I am adamant and stand my ground that this woman has been victimized by the police, the media and now us. We shouldn't even be sitting here debating her character or know anything about her at all. I am across the Country in Seattle and I feel her pain from here.
Canaanite February 01, 2013 at 02:32 PM
You say it may not have been wrong for the mother to leave the child with a 15 year old . . . I say (third time now) that clearly the trust placed in the older sibling was grossly misplaced if something like this transpired. Further, if he/she was sick, that further impaired his/her ability to be in charge. Lastly, if he/she was already asleep when the mother left, then her judgement is definitely impaired and she needs help. If he/she wasn't already asleep, the first two facts speak for themselves. Not a question of her moral character - thus makes no difference where she was (bar, crack house, or wherever). The issue at hand was her decision to leave her kids alone. On the surface, no, it doesn't seem like a big deal to leave a todler alone with a teen for a short trip to the store, but given what happened - and the danger involved, and the consequences that could have ensued as a result of that decision - in retrospect, it wasn't a good idea now was it? That's all I am saying. The mother's "mistake" could have had disastrous consequences. No one can afford the luxury of such "mistakes" (which aren't true mistakes anyway, but carelessness and lack of forethought for the consequences) where a child's life is involved.
Canaanite February 01, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Clearly the teen was not all that "mature", given the he/she had no idea that his/her little sibling wandered out alone into subzero temperatures. A very serious lapse in judgement not to keep an eye out for the little sibling . . . and my guess is if any mother here were the mother of that teen and found this out, she'd be beyond furious. And yes, there are many things to get furious about with a teen, but again, the consequences of this are too grave to ignore. Clearly the police thought so too . . . Most people's toddlers don't sneak out of their houses and almost freeze to death outside while in the care of a responsible person . . . they just don't. The rarity of such an occurance surely entered into the police's decision to arrest the mother . . . If a reasonable person can keep their kids corralled and safe, then why couldn't/didn't she?
Canaanite February 01, 2013 at 02:40 PM
I feel her pain too . . . I know she is kicking herself over and over for her decision. I know she wishes she could turn back time . . . I know her teen is probably feeling guilty too for getting his mother into such a mess when he/she should have been more aware . . . But unfortunately what has transpired cannot be taken back.
Canaanite February 01, 2013 at 02:42 PM
And my opinion has nothing to do whatsoever with the media's portrayal of the case, I have not seen any other news coverage of this other than this article on Patch. The mother will get her day in court, and the court will find her guilty or not guilty - it's possible the whole thing will be dropped. But maybe not. The system will decide how serious of an issue this is.
Kybrdplyr February 01, 2013 at 03:19 PM
What I find so deplorable is the repeated printing of this mother's "mug shot." Really, this is NONE of our business. The child was take in by kind neighbors, the police contacted. I think the appropriate thing to do by the police would have been to take the child home, check in with the mother, observe the living circumstances and, if everything looked copasetic, knowing that the mother was likely as upset or more so than any of those police people and knowing she would respond as any mother would and never allow such a thing to happen again, leave.
Canaanite February 01, 2013 at 08:12 PM
Therein lies the problem . . . the police do not "know" that she would respond like any mother would and never allow such a thing to happen again. I would argue that no mother would allow such a thing to happen in the first place . . . And "if everything looked copasetic"?? Really? The police are supposed to go by what appears to look fine? God help us as a society if that is how they conducted themselves. The living circumstances weren't the issue, her judgement was.
Canaanite February 01, 2013 at 08:16 PM
. . . And, police activity is the public's business . . . that is why arrest info is public. Not doing her reputation any good to gain notoriety for an arrest, agreed, but it's lawful.
M February 01, 2013 at 08:17 PM
what do you mean, why did she get arrested? the child is only two and the teenager fell asleep. why should anyone feel bad for her, why because she's from Westport and should have just received a warning. God forbid anything would have happened to the child then everyone would be in an uproar. GROW UP PEOPLE.
Canaanite February 01, 2013 at 09:12 PM
My point all along . . . The rightness or wrongness of someone's actions/decisions *do not* depend on the favorableness of the outcome . . . "All's well that ends well" is a stupid way to go through life . . . because next time it may NOT end well. And in this case it means that an innocent child depending on her mother to take care of her would be hurt unnecssarily because that woman was careless.
Rebecca sue February 02, 2013 at 12:26 AM
Wrong again, your statement "Most people's toddlers don't sneak out of their houses and almost freeze to death outside while in the care of a responsible person . . . they just don't. The rarity of such an occurance surely entered into the police's decision to arrest the mother . . . If a reasonable person can keep their kids corralled and safe, then why couldn't/didn't she?" It happens all the time. And many of the children actually died where the parents or caregiver was never charged. Do your homework.
Rebecca sue February 02, 2013 at 12:28 AM
Really? I doubt I get a copy of Patch in Seattle Washington. The story appeared in our local papers.
Rebecca sue February 02, 2013 at 01:56 AM
What a horrendous crime! The teenager fell asleep. Unimaginable! It's a good thing people such as yourself are here to show the rest of us there is hope for humanity. Thank you.
Canaanite February 02, 2013 at 02:20 AM
Really? I am wrong? So people's children slipping out and wandering around is common? Where are the statistics that support this pray tell? Because in all my life, I have never known one person to whom this has happened . . . I only hear about it in stories such as these.
Canaanite February 02, 2013 at 02:22 AM
I never said there WASN'T any other news coverage, only that none of it influenced MY opinion. You ought to read more carefully.
Canaanite February 02, 2013 at 02:25 AM
Rebecca Sue, you are so missing the point so keep a lid on your sarcasm if you would . . . The teenager falling asleep is not the issue . . . the mother's decision to leave the toddler with a sick teenager who is prone to falling asleep is the issue. The teenager cannot be held accountable - he or she is only a kid. The mother should not have left them alone.
Rebecca sue February 02, 2013 at 03:22 AM
Nor have I ever know anyone who had a child slip out unnoticed. But two people out of 7 billion is a pretty small speck on the map. The following links are from the past week only..... And the list goes on and on.... http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/9358762/ http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/3101012/ www.news8000.com/news/...toddler-wanders.../-/index.html http://www.wisn.com/news/south-east-wisconsin/racine-kenosha/Racine-toddler-found-wandering-outside/-/10151828/18302266/-/esyqkj/-/index.html http://www.9news.com/video/2069436755001/1/Toddlers-found-outside-in-the-cold-by-delivery-man http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/1547429/ http://www.topix.com/city/lenexa-ks/2013/01/missing-boy-found-after-frantic-search cerescourier.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=2... http://yoursun.net/sunnews/venice/4814764-350/sunnewspaperstoddlersgowanderingparentsbusted.html.csp
Rebecca sue February 02, 2013 at 03:30 AM
Canaanite, It's ok if someone in the world doesn't agree with you. I don't and won't. And the only time I resort to sarcasm is when I encounter people like you who think they know everything and love to hear themselves talk. I can't help it so it's doubtful I will be putting a lid on it let alone keeping one on.


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