Local News

Mother Charged After Toddlers Wander from Home

Posted March 16, 2000

— Young children can be a handful. Take your eyes off of them for even a minute and they can disappear. In Cumberland County, two young children wandered from their home Friday. Now, their mother is facing charges.

The two boys, ages 3-and-a-half and 18 months, are safe. Their mother, Lisa Schiffiana, is charged with two counts of misdemeanor child abuse.

Officer John McBride found the toddlers unattended near the waters of McFayden Lake.

"I saw two kids kneeling at the corner, half of their bodies were leaning over the pier, they were trying to call for some ducks," he says.

McBride and other officers went searching for the two boys after their mother reported them missing.

Schiffiana told police she was in the shower and when she got out, the children were gone.

The boys were found a half mile down the road. Neighbors say this is is not the first time the boys have walked away from home alone.

"I think parents should be responsible when children are up, know what they are doing, their whereabouts at all times," says neighbor Helen Lozano.

Police agree.

Schiffiana says the boys have a habit of wondering off, and says she thought she had locked the doors to her home. She is thankful her children were found unharmed, but feels police went too far.

"Obviously the kids were not being watched if they wandered out. We avoided a terrible tragedy if they had fallen into the lake, so we see that as a serious offense," says Sgt. Roberto Rivera of the Fayetteville Police Department.

The children remain with their mother, however, the Department of Social Services has been notified.

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