Mother Arrested For Child Abuse After Infant Left Outside Overnight

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Sioux Falls police say the mother of an infant that was left outside overnight at a Sioux Falls church has been charged and arrested.

28-year-old Mary Jennesse has been charged with abuse or cruelty to a minor under age seven with a $10,000 bond.

Police say a 2-month-old baby was left overnight outside of Faith Family Church on October 3rd.

The father of the infant was arrested and charged with felony child abuse and neglect on October 5th and is still in jail.

The infant was taken into protective custody and a custody hearing will take place to determine what will happen next.


SIOUX FALLS, S.D.– Police say the father of the infant left outside of a Sioux Falls Church has been arrested. The 38-year-old is charged with felony child abuse and neglect. Police say the 2-month-old baby was left outside overnight earlier this week.

Police say they got the call Tuesday morning. An infant had been found in a car seat abandoned near the door of Faith Family Church. He was wearing just a short-sleeve onesie, and had no protection from the elements.

Sioux Falls Police Officer Sam Clemens said, “The woman that found the child said the baby was soaked.”

That was just after 8:30 a.m. An hour later, the child’s father, Ronald Harrison Jr. and the mother came to the Law Enforcement Center to report the child missing. According to court documents, they told police they accidentally ‘lost’, ‘forgot’ or ‘misplaced’ the baby at around 8th Street and Spring Avenue. The couple told police that they were arguing and the mother walked off. Court documents say Harrison chased after their nearly 2-year-old child, and had returned to the area, but no one was there.

“Mom walked away. Dad walked away. I guess that’s what they were telling detectives, that they both thought the other had the baby,” said Clemens.

According to court documents, Harrison told police quote, “You guys have video. I have kids and I just leave them by the (expletive) side of the road.” Harrison was arrested Wednesday night on a $10,000 cash bond by the Minnehaha Co. Sheriff’s Office.

Clemens said, “There’s just a lot of bad things that could have happened, when you’re talking about leaving a child that young outside in the cold, in the rain for that period of time.”

Video surveillance confirms that the parents left the area at around 2:45 Monday afternoon. The child was discovered 18 hours later.

“I don’t recall ever having a, especially an infant, this young, being outside this long,” Clemens said.

During the time the baby was left outside, Sioux Falls received around three inches of rain. The low temperature was 54 degrees.

The infant was taken to the hospital and is okay. The boy was taken into protective custody. A custody hearing will take place to determine what will happen next. The mother has not been charged.

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