Children wander away from home in snow, found by neighbor

Anything can happen. That’s what parents say when their kids get curious and wander away. Police say they understand with the ice and snow, but not when the child’s life is endangered.

Investigators arrested William Franklin Wednesday in Graves County. He was charged with two counts of wanton endangerment and is now out on bond. Police say he failed to look after his girlfriend’s two children, who wandered out in the snow. One of the children was 3 years old and the other was 4.

Franklin told police he was in the bathroom for three minutes when the children crawled out of an open window. The children were out in the middle of the day, but the temperature was below freezing and there was more snow on the ground than there is now. The neighbor who found the kids said she’s glad she found them in time.

She was shoveling her driveway when two girls who shouldn’t have been outside wandered her way.

Nikki Trantham says the two children were obviously not dressed to play in the snow. "That mom instinct kicked in, and I wanted to keep them safe and keep them warm."

She says they asked for her help and were trying to get over the hill. That’s when she took them inside. "It’s not a short distance, and the kids were small," she says. "And their little legs don’t travel very fast."

The sheriff’s office says the two children walked about a tenth of a mile, one without shoes and the other without a coat. But at that time the road was covered with snow.

Graves County Sheriff Dewayne Redmon says it wouldn’t have taken long for the two to suffer from frostbite or hypothermia. "This situation yesterday could have turned out a whole lot worse," he says. "But, luckily, it didn’t."

He says the cold is difficult for adults and even worse for small children. "If you get out in this kind of temperature like we’re having today, your chance of survival is going to be very limited," he says.

Trantham says as a mom she knows anything can happen with kids, but this was hard to believe.

"I’m glad I could help and be there for those kids. I would expect someone to do the same for my kids," says Trantham.

Redmon says this is not the first time this family has been investigated, but in this instance it’s still an open investigation. As for the children, they ended up back home, dry and warm.

Redmon recommends if your children tend to sneak away when you turn your back, invest in door locks that are high out of their reach or alarms on the doors and windows.

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