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Mother arraigned in child neglect case

January 17, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The mother of a 2-year-old boy found alone outside his Martinsburg home on at least four occasions since November was arraigned Monday in Berkeley County Magistrate Court on two felony counts of child neglect, records show.

Misty Danielle Page, 22, of 106 N. Maple Ave. in Martinsburg, was charged by Martinsburg Police Department Cpl. S.F. Funkhouser and arraigned by Magistrate Jo Ann Overington, who set bond at $20,000, court records show.

In the complaint filed against Page, Funkhouser said he was patrolling the city on New Year's Eve when he spotted the boy walking alone down Burke Street near College Street, a little more than a week after investigating a similar incident.

"(Page) did not realize that (the boy) was gone, stating that they were both sleeping and when he wakes, he goes outside looking for her," Funkhouser said of his investigation of the Dec. 31, 2006, incident.

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On Dec. 23, 2006, a woman at the Blue White Grill off North Queen and East Burke streets told Funkhouser that she took the child to the restaurant, thinking his mother was there.

The woman initially saw the boy at the intersection of West Burke Street and North Maple Avenue walking around wearing a pair of adult shoes and a pair of shorts that appeared wet, possibly from his own urine, Funkhouser said.

According to Funkhouser, the child's mother on that occasion told him that she was "upstairs wrapping Christmas presents" and the boy was sleeping downstairs and apparently woke up and left the house through the kitchen door.

"Ms. Page stated that the door was locked, but (the boy) will stand on a chair and unlock them," Funkhouser said.

Funkhouser also said in his complaint that another Martinsburg Police Department officer handled a similar incident involving the child on Dec. 7, 2006, when the boy was found at 310 W. Burke St., and that another incident was reported Nov. 28, 2006.

During the Dec. 31 incident, Funkhouser said he contacted the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources regarding the boy's welfare. The agency took action regarding custody of the child, an official confirmed Tuesday.

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