Mother, son arrested
COMO – A mother and her teenage son were arrested here earlier this week in a case where a four-year-old child wandered away from home.
According to a report filed by Hertford County Sheriff’s Deputy Tom Helms, charges of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile were filed against 34-year-old Christine Renee Wass and Justin Michael Young, 16, both of 105 Murphy Road, Como. There was no bond amount listed on the report, but both arrestees were given a court date of Nov. 2.
The Hertford County Sheriff’s Office became involved in the case after receiving a call from employees at Dave’s Place, a convenience store located at the intersection of US 258 and Statesville Road between Murfreesboro and Como.
Upon his arrival, Helms was informed by a store clerk that a small child had walked inside the business without being accompanied by a parent or guardian.
“(The clerk) advised me that he (the child) walked around the store and brought some items to the counter,” Helms wrote in his report, a copy of which was obtained by the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. “(The clerk) then asked him where his parents were and he did not speak to her. The clerk then called the Sheriff’s Office and kept the child at the store until I arrived.”
Helms said he spoke to the child, asking him how he arrived at the store.
“I asked him did he walk there and he nodded yes,” Helms noted.
The deputy then placed the child in his patrol car and asked which direction did the child live. They traveled approximately one-half mile to a residence on Murphy Road.
“When I pulled into the yard I observed a young male who was Justin Young, the brother of the child, come from behind the residence,” Helms stated. “I asked him if he knew the child in the front seat and he stated yes. I asked him how the child got up to the store and the young man replied that he could not tell me.”
Helms then asked Young where his parents were.
“He stated his mom had left to go to Virginia about an hour ago,” Helms said. “I asked him who was supposed to be watching the child and he replied he was, but he was hanging out with some friends behind the residence. One of the other young men that was behind the residence replied that he saw the child walking down the road and told him to come back, but he did not.”
Helms said he then entered the residence, finding two other small children (ages 2 and 9) unattended. At that time he said a female approached the residence, advising Helms that she had Wass on the phone.
“I spoke with Christine Wass who advised me that she had left her 16-year-old son, Justin, in charge of the children so she could go to Franklin (VA),” Helms wrote in the report. “She advised that she paid him $10 and that he was supposed to be in charge of them. I advised her that she needed to come home as soon as possible and take custody of the children.”
In addition to filing the misdemeanor criminal charges against the mother and son, Helms said he contacted the Child Protective Services unit of Hertford County DSS concerning the incident.
“They advised they would be doing a follow up investigation,” Helms concluded.