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JCPD: Mother who abandoned child found in bar

By Meredith Machen, mmachen@wcyb.com
Published On: Jun 07 2013 05:02:23 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 07 2013 08:46:27 PM CDT

A Johnson City mother was arrested after police said she left her child with a friend and never returned.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

A Johnson City mother was arrested after police said she left her child with a friend and never returned.

Three days -- that was the agreement Wendy Reese had with her best friend, 23-year-old April Jones. "I volunteered to do it. It was not a problem," said Reese.

Reese said Jones was moving, so she asked if Reese could watch her son, known to Reese as 'Bubba'. "After the couple of days had ended though, she did not come and pick Bubba up," Reese told News 5.

After eight days, Reese started to worry about the child's health. "I just could not get his allergy medicine for him, and I felt that he needed to get his medicine because he does take it on a daily basis," said Reese.

Reese said she tried to call Jones several times. "I couldn't get April to answer so I called DCS," said Reese.

That's when police and Child Protective Services got involved, something Reese didn't want to happen. "I also know that parents can't just put their kids off on somebody and disappear," Reese added.

"Just to go off and leave a child with somebody other than a close relative that's pretty much abandonment," said Lt. Larry Williams with the Johnson City Police Department.

A few hours after police talked with Reese, officers said they found Jones at the Horseshoe Lounge, a local bar on West Market Street. "She didn't come up with any explanation as to why the child had been left for so long," added Lt. Williams.

Jones is now charged with felony child neglect. "I didn't do it to get April in trouble or put her in jail or anything like that. I did it for Bubba," said Reese.

Reese said she hopes this doesn't ruin a friendship, and maybe time behind bars is what could make Jones' family a better one. "When they're there, they're great parents. April just needs a little help and guidance," Reese said.

Reese said Jones' child is now in the care of other family members.