A 4-year-old child has been taken into protective custody after a Baxter County resident saw him roaming along state Highway 201 North, unsupervised, during the early morning hours March 1.
His mother, Jessica S. Sanders, 26, of Viola has been charged with endangering the welfare of a minor.
Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery said Dr. Hubert Cockrum contacted the department at 4:51 a.m. after he saw a small child running in front of his residence.
Cockrum told authorities he was alarmed when he heard noises outside his residence, and his dogs began barking. When he looked out a window he saw a small boy, who he thought was four to five years old, run across a road and down the road in front of his residence, Montgomery said.
A 3-hour search ensued.
Montgomery said several deputies and investigators went to the area where the boy was last seen. Road blocks were set up, and deputies went door to door to question residents.
The Baxter County Sheriff's Department helicopter was launched; tracking dogs from the Arkansas Department of Corrections were called to assist; and patrol boats searched along the bank of Lake Norfork, he said.
At approximately 7:52 a.m., deputies received a tip about the whereabouts of the missing child. Authorities were told the child might have come from a residence located along Larkspur Lane in Mountain Home.
Though it is unclear whether the child found his way home or if his mother picked him up, when investigators went to the residence in question, they saw a child matching the description of the missing boy.
Cockrum was called to the residence, where he identified the boy, and the search ended about 7:57 a.m., Montgomery said.
Sanders, who had been staying at the Mountain Home residence, told authorities she last checked on her son around 2 a.m. while he was sleeping, Montgomery said.
Sanders was taken into custody after a police check revealed she was wanted for two outstanding warrants -- failure to appear in court and nonpayment of fines. After being transported to the Baxter County Detention Center, Sanders was given the additional charge of endangering the welfare of a minor, Montgomery said.
Sanders was released after posting a $715 bond. She is scheduled to appear in Baxter County District Court March 22.