Identity of child left on front porch of Upstate subdivision sti - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Police identify child left on front porch, parents charged

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Alonzo Brown (Source: WYFF) Alonzo Brown (Source: WYFF)
Tongela Denise McBride (Source: WYFF) Tongela Denise McBride (Source: WYFF)

Sheriff's deputies in Anderson County say they know the identity of a toddler who was abandoned on the front porch of a home and her parents have been arrested.

Sheriff's deputies announced Saturday afternoon she is 4-year-old Zoe Brown of Marietta, GA. Investigators say they received a tip Friday that helped them identify the girl.

Deputies also announced Saturday that the girl's father, 31-year-old Alonzo Brown, and mother, 37-year-old Tongela Denise McBride were arrested. They are charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

Brown was denied bond at a hearing Saturday at the Anderson County Detention Center. McBride is being held in Cobb County, GA awaiting extradition.

WYFF is reporting Zoe Brown is in the care of a foster family. 

Anderson County sheriff's spokesman Chad McBride said Wednesday there was a "high probability she's not from this area."

McBride said Anderson County law enforcement typically gets tips on even the smallest crimes, things as insignificant as lawnmower thefts. 

"Not one tip has come in so far to the Sheriff's Office or Crimestoppers. Nothing. And that's highly unusual," McBride said on Wednesday. "She could be from the other side of the country for all we know, we just don't know."

Because of the child's surgical scars, a doctor from Greenville Health System checked her out to see if they can figure out what type of surgery she had. 

"We're going to reach down to the Charleston hospital today, where they perform a lot of surgeries on kids," McBride said.  "We're just trying anything to figure it out," McBride said. "How in the world did she get here and who in the world is she?"

The Anderson County Sheriff's Office said that someone rang the doorbell at the home on Brook Forest Drive in the Nevitt Forest subdivision at about 11 p.m. Tuesday. When Roy Campbell opened the door, he found the baby girl in a stroller and no sign of who had left her.

Campbell said he did not recognize the toddler. He said when he found her, she didn't seem frightened, "at least not enough to cry."

Anderson County Sheriff's Office Capt. Garland Major said, "When we got there, we found there was two diapers in the stroller and one of them said, 'Call DFAC, please,' and we're assuming that's Division of Family and Child Services in Georgia."

The child was taken into Emergency Protective Custody and examined at AnMed and found to be in good health.

The medical staff said the toddler has a scar on the right side of her neck and the center of her chest that is consistent with heart surgery.

Her hair was braided and both ears were pierced with diamond stud earrings.  She was clad in a white shirt with yellow sleeves (size 24 months) that bears the lettering "Auntie Loves Me" on the front and gray pants with a floral design and a pink jacket.  She was also wearing a pink stocking cap and brown boots.  Both the cap and boots had the picture of Dora the Explorer on them.

Investigators are working with adjoining state agencies and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to identify the child and the child's family. The toddler is currently with a foster family.

South Carolina investigators worked with authorities in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina to identify the child.

Major said Daniel's Law, which allows newborns to be left at fire stations or hospitals without abandonment charges, only applies up to infants up to 30 days old.

"If you have a child and don't want it, by all means, law enforcement or the Department of Social Services would be a means to do that," said Major. 

"We'd have to do a complete investigation and find out the details before I could speak on that," said Major.

"She can make a few sounds -- say a few words, but she can't really identify herself. Kind of a heart-warming thing she did reach up and hug our investigator so yes, the child is well-cared for.

"It just kind of rips at your heart," he said. "You want to do all that you can for the child."

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