Polk 2-year-old wandered alone on road for 1.5 hours, say deputies

Kayla Vaughan, Polk County Jail booking photo

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Polk County woman faces child abuse and drug charges after deputies say she left six children home alone. One of the children, a 2-year-old, was seen wandering on the road for 1 1/2 hours. Deputies say they waited at the woman’s home for six hours before she returned.

A witness called the Polk County Sheriff’s Office around 2 p.m. on Thursday to report she had seen a child unsupervised and wandering on the roadway of Big Sioux Court for 1 1/2 hours.

Deputies arrived and determined that the wandering child lived at a residence on Big Sioux Court. Deputies say the 2-year-old was one of six children, ages 2 to 14, who live at the residence.

Deputies said there was not an adult at the residence to supervise the children. They checked the refrigerator and kitchen and said there was little to no food for the six children to eat.

Deputies say they waited at the residence for six hours until the children’s caregiver, Kayla Vaughan, 33, returned home.

While searching for emergency contact information for a parent or caregiver, deputies say they found a scale and a partially smoked, hand-rolled cigarette with a green leafy substance was located in the master bedroom in the upper left side drawer of a black dresser.

These items were resting next to Kayla Vaughan’s personal mail that was addressed to her. Deputies say Vaughan denied knowledge and ownership of the cannabis, and also said she is the only adult who lives in the house and that it is her bedroom.

The green leafy substance was field tested and tested positive for cannabis and weighed .1 grams.

Law Enforcement was on scene for an additional six hours before Kayla Vaughan returned home.  Deputies say without law enforcement’s response and intervention, the victim could have wandered unsupervised on the roadway for over eight hours.

Vaughan was arrested for possession of cannabis/paraphernalia, and negligent child abuse and was transported to the Polk County Jail.

The Department of Child and Families has custody of the children.

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