Man who helps wandering kids uses experience as a lesson

7:38 PM, Apr 30, 2013   |    comments
JSO says a citizen found these three children wandering the streets in a St. Nicholas neighborhood on Sunday. They later located the parents of the children.
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla -- A good samaritan who helped three wandering children over the weekend speaks out and uses the experience to teach his own children a lesson.

On Sunday afternoon Tim McAlexander said he was dropping off one of his daughter's friends back at her house when he saw three children wandering the streets of St. Nicholas.

"Two little boys were right in the middle of the street and one of them wearing nothing but a t-shirt, so we went ahead and just got them on the side walk and asked them where they lived. They didn't know, they were going to grandma's house and I said, 'well do you care if we walk with you to grandma's house,' because they didn't know what apartment they were out of or anything," said McAlexander.

McAlexander says the two boys of ages two and one and the four-year-old little girl were all barefoot and lost.

"We let her tell us where to go and went around all the corners and no grandma's house," said McAlexander.

During the search, McAlexander said a woman on San Diego Road joined them and clothed the 2-year-old with her grandchildren's clothes. 

After two to three hours of searching for a parent or guardian, McAlexander found a police officer. 

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office sent out an alert, but about an hour later they located the parents. 

McAlexander said he used this experience to teach his own girls, ages 7 and 9, a lesson.

"I told them, 'you see how easy it was to get those kids to go with us it took nothing' and they were just scared little kids and didn't know where to go, but yea I tell mine all the time you just can't leave the house," said McAlexander.

McAlexander says his nine-year-old got away once when she was three and after that he installed locks the children couldn't reach. He says every parent should secure their doors.

"It scares you to death, there's a lot of weirdos around and at least one of them didn't find them," said McAlexander.

Officers said the mother of the child left the children in the care of 23-year-old Lanard Bell. 

Police said that Bell reported the children missing, and once they responded to the address they reportedly found marijuana in the living room, dirty diapers on the floor, and spoiled food, among other things. 

Bell was charged with six counts of child neglect, possession of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.

First Coast News

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