GLENDALE, AZ — A Valley woman is facing child abuse charges after a 6-year-old boy was found wandering alone in the parking lot of a Glendale apartment complex.
Glendale police report that around noon on February 28, residents at an apartment complex near 51st Avenue and Camelback Road reported seeing a young boy pushing his small dog around in a shopping cart in the parking lot.
When police contacted the boy, he told them that he had been locked out of his apartment by his mother, 40-year-old Laura Colleen Garcia, who had left to take a drug test.
Other residents reportedly told police that the 6-year-old was often left alone or "with random people in the apartment complex."
Police say there have been several calls for welfare checks on the boy after residents allegedly heard Garcia yelling at the victim at "all hours of the night."
Court records show that in one instance, the Arizona Department of Child Safety was contacted after Garcia reported the boy missing, saying she made arrangements for a neighbor to get the boy off the school bus. The boy was later located at the school, still on the bus. The neighbor reportedly told police that no arrangement was made for them to get the boy.
Police say there was no food in the refrigerator, but there was "decaying food on the counter," and "food items covering much of the floor."
When Garcia returned home at about 3 p.m., she allegedly said that she left home about 11 a.m. to take a mandatory drug test. Police say she told them that she left the boy with a man but could not remember his name or his apartment number.
The boy is now with DCS.
Garcia has been charged with child abuse.
If you suspect a child is being abused, the Arizona Department of Child Services has resources available to report the issue to a social worker. You can call the Arizona Child Abuse Hotline at 1-888-SOS-CHILD (1-888-767-2445), and will be asked for information about the child, as well as the nature of your concerns. You can also get more information from DCS about reporting abuse or neglect online.