Police said they have charged two parents with felony child abuse for allegedly leaving their 2-year-old son alone in an apartment for about five hours.
The Morehead City Police Department has identified the suspects as Amber Marie Butler and Broderick Balial Kincaid, both 21.
According to investigators, officers received a call at about 8:20 p.m. on April 17 about a screaming child at Crystal Coastal Apartments on Mayberry Loop Road. The call came from a neighbor of the suspects.
Police said when officers arrived at the suspects' apartment, they found the front door partially open and a 2-year-old boy standing behind it, crying. The toddler was only wearing a dirty diaper and all the lights in the apartment were off, according to investigators.
Police said the 2-year-old was left alone in the apartment for about five hours. In addition, the apartment was filthy and it appeared the toddler was neglected for a long time, investigators told NewsChannel 12.
The mother of the child, Butler, told investigators she had left her toddler son with a babysitter, said police. But when officers called the number of the so-called babysitter, there was no answer, investigators explained.
Butler also said she was at work at the Family Dollar store in Beaufort, but that was not true, police added.
The father, Kincaid, told officers he left the toddler unattended at 4 p.m. that day, thinking Butler was on her way home, said police.
Roshanda Ferguson, a neighbor of the suspects, described what she heard.
"I kept hearing a baby screaming, screaming and just hollering, and I thought, 'What is going on?," Ferguson said. “I thought the parents were inside because, see, I walk by here to go to the mailbox and I hear a lot of screaming, crying and carrying on.”
Both Kincaid and Butler have been charged with felony child abuse and were given $15,000 bonds, investigators said. Kincaid has since bonded out of jail, but Butler remains behind bars as of Monday afternoon.
Their 2-year-old son is in the custody of the Department of Social Services.
Christina Teachey said she is a close friend of Butler. Teachey told NewsChannel 12 Butler seemed like a good mother.
"Every time I’m around her, she has her kid. I mean, she's never left him alone that I know of," Teachey said.
The toddler's father is a Marine stationed at Cherry Point, investigators said.