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Child abandoned on Martinsburg sidewalk is OK, police say

October 29, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A 2-year-old girl who was found abandoned without shoes or a coat along a Martinsburg street early Tuesday was not injured after being rescued from wet and chilly conditions, police said.

The child's mother was found at a West King Street-area residence at about noon -- nine hours after the toddler was found in the 300 block of South Water Street, according to a news release from Martinsburg Police Department Detective Lt. G.B. Swartwood.

Wearing jeans and a red top, the girl was seen running toward a car that a witness said was traveling away from the child, Swartwood said. At the time the girl was found -- about 3 a.m. -- the temperature was in the low 40s and there was a light rain, police said.

Witnesses told police that after hearing a loud car stereo, they saw a dark-colored, late-model vehicle with chrome rims leaving the area, police said. A child safety seat also was found along the street.

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Police were able to identify the child after photographs of the girl were released to area media organizations, Swartwood said.

A woman who recognized the girl told police she previously "watched" the child, who was placed in the custody of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

Swartwood said he and Patrolman D.L. English went to the mother's West King Street area residence and told her that the 2-year-old had been taken into custody.

Swartwood said that investigators attempted to interview the girl's mother at the police station and that the woman was later taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg after indicating she was ill.

The woman's 4-year-old daughter also was placed in the custody of DHHR, Swartwood said.

Swartwood said the investigation was continuing and thanked media organizations and the community for "prompt response and concern."

Anyone with information regarding this incident can call the Martinsburg Police Department at 304-264-2100.

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