Fort Mill girl, 2, found safe after wandering outside home while dad slept

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comSeptember 11, 2013 

— Neighbors found a 2-year-old Fort Mill girl knocking on doors in her neighborhood after she wandered out of her house while her father was asleep on Monday.

At about 11:15 a.m., deputies were sent to a Charterhouse Lane home in Fort Mill after Achta Salaka Mohamed Sidi and another neighbor reported that they were caring for the girl and could not find her parents or guardian, according to a York County Sheriff’s report.

Sidi said she was in her living room watching television when she heard the door knob on her front door start to turn. Her husband was at work and she was home alone, but she still cautiously opened the door.

She found a little girl “standing at her feet,” the report states.

“I didn’t know her; I never met her,” Sidi told The Herald on Wednesday. “I was surprised.”

Sidi spoke with a sanitation worker who said he saw the girl walking through the subdivision of townhomes off Regent Parkway since about 11 a.m. and knocking on a neighbor’s door.

Sidi went to that woman’s home and asked if the girl belonged with her.

The neighbor, who declined to comment, did not know the girl, deputies said.

Sidi said she, the woman and other neighbors began knocking on doors but were unable to locate the girl’s home.

They called the sheriff’s office, and deputies took the girl to a substation in Fort Mill’s Baxter Village, where authorities spoke with a York County Department of Social Services employee.

Meanwhile, Sidi and her neighbors continued to search for the girl’s parents. Sidi, who took a picture of the girl on her phone, said she spoke with some residents who saw the girl standing in front of one of the townhomes.

Sidi and another neighbor went to the house and found the front door open. They knocked and, after several attempts, a man answered.

They showed him the picture of the girl and he said she was his daughter. Sidi said she waited until the man showed her a picture of the girl before telling him that she had been taken to the sheriff’s office substation.

By that time, two hours had passed. The father, 24, called deputies and told them his daughter had walked out of the unlocked front door while he was asleep.

The DSS worker met with the father’s parents and set up a safety plan that placed the girl in their custody.

Throughout the search, the girl, Sidi said, was calm.

“She wasn’t crying at all; she wasn’t talking,” she said.

Sidi said she asked the girl her name and where she lived, but the toddler was unable to tell her. When Sidi took the girl to her own home, the child marveled at cartoons of dogs and cats.

The father has not been charged, according to court records.

Jonathan McFadden •  803-329-4082

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