Reports of an unsupervised toddler roaming the halls of a west side Columbus motel on two consecutive days led to the arrest of the mother and her live-in boyfriend on child-neglect charges.
Melissa L. Saylor, 22, of 748 Glendale Drive, Columbus, and Ricky J. Small Jr., 37, both are charged with neglect of a dependent, a Class D felony.
Small also is charged with possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance as a Class A misdemeanor because illegal drugs were found on him when he was being booked into Bartholomew County Jail.
The 3-year-old boy and his 2-year-old sister were unharmed and have been turned over to the custody of Child Protection Services, Columbus Police Department spokesman Lt. Matt Myers said.
At 6 p.m. Thursday, officers were called to the Days Inn, 3445 W. Jonathan Moore Pike, to investigate reports of the unsupervised boy, Myers said.
After locating the toddler, who was wearing only a dirty diaper, investigators talked to motel employees, who said they had seen the same child roaming the halls Wednesday, Myers said.
The employees escorted the officers to the mother’s room, Myers said. Although no one answered multiple knocks on the door, officers could hear the 2-year-old girl inside, so they obtained a pass key, he said.
Upon entering the room, officers saw not only the unsupervised little girl but her mother sleeping in feces left on the bed, Myers said.
Police attempted to awaken Saylor several times before she finally became aware of her surroundings, he said.
“The little girl, who also had a soiled diaper, appeared to be very dirty and in desperate need of a bath,” Myers said. “The room was in total disarray, with multiple food items on the floor and clothing scattered everywhere.”
Saylor, who told police her boyfriend, Small, was supposed to be watching the two children as she slept, was trying to contact him with her cellphone when Small walked into the room.
Although the boyfriend claimed he had been gone only a short time to get dinner for the children from a nearby fastfood restaurant, the officers noted Small was not carrying food, Myers said.
After concluding the couple had knowingly placed the children in a dangerous situation, police arrested Saylor and Small.
As Small was being searched at the jail, a plastic bag with 10 blue pills was found, Myers said. The same type of drug also was found in a plastic container. It was determined the pills were a generic form of Zanax, a tranquilizer used for treating anxiety, Myers said.
As of late Friday morning, both Saylor and Small were behind bars. Bond for Small was set at $30,000 surety or $3,000 cash. Saylor would have to post $10,000 surety or $1,000 cash in order to be released.
The office of Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash will determine what, if any, charges to file.