Valley mom arrested; charged with child abuse - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Phoenix mother charged with child abuse after leaving 2-year-old alone in backyard

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Arrested: 20 year-old Melynie Susunkewa. Arrested: 20 year-old Melynie Susunkewa.
Joel Contreras found Damian in his back yard Saturday morning. Joel Contreras found Damian in his back yard Saturday morning.
2 year-old Damian. 2 year-old Damian.

A Phoenix mother is facing child abuse charges after her 2 year-old son was found in a stranger's back yard. Police say that the mother told them she was drinking and blacked out. The mother said she does not know how her child ended up spending the night outside in a fenced yard alone.

How do you lose a toddler, but still manage to get a ride from a stranger back home? That's what everyone is wondering tonight. The 20 year-old left a party, hopped some fences, got a ride home and somewhere along the way lost her child.

Phoenix Police identified the mother as 20 year-old Melynie Susunkewa, they say she was at a part Friday night drinking. During the party she apparently became upset with the boy's father and a girl at the party wanted to fight her so she left with her son 2 year-old Damian.

"Her judgment wasn't the best but someone should've noticed that she left that house with that baby, so somebody else should've been there to help her out and stop her from leaving," said Joel Contreras, who found the boy in his back yard.

Damian never made it home that night, Joel Contreras found him in his back yard soaked from the rain and crying. Police say his mom admitted to hopping backyard fences, hiding under cars, and hitching a ride from a stranger back to her North Phoenix apartment. How Damian ended up at Contreras's house is still a mystery.

Susunkewa's mom said she blacked out for several hours. The story leaves many including Contreras shaking their heads. "If you're going to go out there and have fun have family take care of your child. If you know you're going to be drinking get your priorities straight, just really sad she didn't choose another direction," said Contreras.

Authorities say Damian was in good shape when he was discovered. Contreras and his wife say they would love to care for Damian while his mother gets her life in order. They want the best for this child who suddenly appeared in their lives. "For him to have a caring family or family members step up to the plate and take responsibility and give him a better life," he said.

Damian remains in the custody of Child Protective Services, his mom was arrested on child abuse charges but bonded out of jail Sunday morning. Susunkewa never reported her son missing, it was another family member who called police after the media ran the story.

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