A 4-year-old boy was found wandering around by himself in Florida on Saturday after his mother left him at home alone while she went out to get marijuana.
The little boy was found outside the Davenport home of Marsha Dolce, 26, according to the Tampa Bay Times, citing Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
The child was “wearing only a T-shirt and underwear,” the Times cited the deputies as saying, and was crying and asking for help.
Dolce, who teaches 4th grade at an elementary school in Poinciana, returned to her apartment around 8 a.m., the Times reported, about an hour after the boy in her custody was found outside alone.
She reportedly told the deputies that she had left the house to help a friend with car troubles.
But after conducting a search of her home, deputies found marijuana in a “grinding device” in the kitchen. They also found a text in her phone received around 2:32 a.m. that gave an address and a follow-up message sent from her phone at about 3:21 a.m. saying “I’m here.”
When confronted with this evidence, Dolce admitted to making up the story about the broken car, and said she went out to get pot while the boy was asleep.
“She told them that she wanted to get some marijuana, and the 4 year-old boy was asleep, so she assumed she could go to Winter Haven quickly to meet a friend named Dre and get some from him,” the Polk County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a release, according to the Times. “She said that she and Dre returned to her home, had consensual sex, and she took him back to Winter Haven.”
The Florida Department of Children and Families removed the boy from the house and from Dolce’s custody.
The woman now faces charges of negligent child abuse without great bodily harm, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
“This is not what we expect from a person in a position of public trust. She left a 4-year-old home alone to go find some marijuana,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a release, ABC Action News reported.
“To think about this poor scared child crying in the street not knowing where she was—it is just a shame and should not have happened.”
ABC reports that Dolce has also been fired from her job.