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The Villages
Thursday, March 16, 2023

Mother arrested after small boy found wandering along U.S. 301

Monique Denise Douglas
Monique Denise Douglas

A mother was arrested after her five-year-old son was found wandering along U.S. 301 in Wildwood.

A couple found the boy, who was wearing only socks and shorts, at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the area of U.S. 301 and Johnson Street, according to an arrest report from the Wildwood Police Department. The couple had been driving when they spotted the boy near the roadway. They dialed 911 and turned the boy over to police. He appeared to be “unhurt and happy,” the report said. He was holding a cell phone.

The cell phone led back to 215 Second Ave., where police found the boy’s mother, 27-year-old Monique Denise Douglas. The grandmother, who was with Douglas, said the boy frequently sneaks out to play in a neighbor’s yard.

Douglas said she had been helping her four-year-old daughter use the restroom when her four-year-old niece told her the back door was open and the five-year-old was missing.

Officers found that Douglas is on probation through 2027.

She was arrested on a felony charge of child neglect and taken to the Sumter County Detention Center where she was booked without bond due to her probation status.

In 2013, she had been working at Villages Rehab in Lady Lake when she was arrested on a charge of grand theft after a patient’s iPhone went missing.

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