A 5-year-old boy remains in state custody after his grandmother left him in a department store and never returned. Wichita police are still searching for the 41-year-old after she fled a local Kohl's in efforts to evade shoplifting charges. The Wichita Eagle reports the woman (unnamed) tried to steal $200 worth of merchandise that she quickly returned to employees. She has since disappeared without care or concern for her grandson.
To make matters worse, not one relative of the boy showed up to the custody hearing to claim him. Officials reportedly notified his mother and aunt, but neither were present. As a result, the judge has placed him in foster care until his trial in juvenile court next month that will officially determine who will care for him. "We try to find somebody that the child at least knows and would be more comfortable with in the family before we go that route," Marc Bennett, Sedgwick County District Attorney points out. "But as you saw from today's hearing, that just wasn't an option."
As for the boy's mother, Tiffani Picciurro, 25, she claims to have looked for her son but hasn't seen him since he was a baby. Picciurro admits she allowed his (paternal) grandmother to care for her child in Kansas while she moved, but never went to retrieve him. When notified by a relative about her son's hearing, Picciurro alleges she wanted to go but couldn't find a ride.
"I don't know anybody up there [in Wichita]," said Picciurro. "I just kind of left it up to — if he was supposed to come back, he would come back."
There's no word on the father's whereabouts.
This story is beyond heartbreaking as it will more than likely leave emotional and psychological scars. Who the heck leaves a child in the store without care for their well-being? While some might argue the grandmother had to steal due to a lack of finances, she could've at least called someone to get the boy if she was in that much of a hurry to leave the scene. Who knows what predator would've grabbed him if no one intervened.
The fact that he hasn't seen his mother outside of a few photos is quite disturbing. I know of a few people who had to leave their children in someone else's care while they handled business, but to not see your kid in four years is unacceptable.
I'm sadly reminded of a similar situation involving a child mentee of mine and her family. Just 7 years old at the time, her grandmother decided she no longer wanted to care for her daughter's child and put her up for adoption. I still remember the day I walked by her in the street thinking I would see her at the community center later. Little did I know, she was on her way to child services.
I can only pray this horrible situation will have a silver lining. Hopefully this little boy gets a fresh start at a new and loving family.
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