St. Peters, MO — A Missouri woman was arrested after being accused of leaving a loaded rifle in her toddler’s crib.
Cheryl Darlene Dudley was charged with eight counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and one count of child abuse.
Police went to Dudley’s home Monday after someone said they saw Dudley’s 22-year-old daughter tied to the garage with a rope. The girl had flea bites and dog scratches on her arms, legs, and torso. She also had several bruises on her leg, which Dudley admitted she caused while disciplining her daughter.
Police also found a loaded rifle in the child’s crib, and Dudley said she put it there after hearing noises in the backyard. She said she forgot to take it out once she realized there was no one there.
Investigators said they found narcotics in a dresser drawer that were within reach of the toddler and Dudley’s 7-year-old. According to court documents, the food in the refrigerator was spoiled, and a brown substance was smeared over the inside of the door. Dirty diapers were left on the basement floor, and the house was covered in dog feces, dirt, and mold. The bathrooms were also filthy, and the sliding glass basement door was broken.
Five dogs were removed from the home by animal control.
Court records show that 37-year-old Dudley has failed to appear in court on multiple drug offenses, and she admitted to hiding from the police.
Dudley’s bail has been set at $30,000, cash only. She is currently being held at the St. Charles County Jail.
Cheryl Darlene Dudley isn’t the only person to leave a loaded gun within reach of a toddler.
In May, a Texas 2-year-old shot himself in the face after finding a loaded gun in his great-grandmother’s bedroom. Trenton Mathis was looking for gum when he went into the bedroom, but found a 9 mm handgun on the nightstand instead. He was airlifted to the hospital, but later died from his injuries.
Another Texas toddler, Kinsler Davis, shot himself in the head with his family’s handgun just weeks before Trenton Mathis’ untimely death. The boy’s father, a former firearms store manager, kept the gun in the house because of a previous break-in. He said he thought he put the gun away. There was no safety lock on the trigger.
What sentence do you think Cheryl Darlene Dudley should get?