- Last Updated on Friday, 12 April 2013 12:30
- Published on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 00:41
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Editor's Note: Kim Taylor, who some readers may know as the nice lady who sells candles at the King George Home & Craft Show, is not the mother referred to in the article. Kim is her first name, and not a nickname.
Kimberly Taylor, who didn’t return home for a week after she left her children and went to a party at Lake of the Woods, has entered a plea of guilty to one count of felony child endangerment. Judge J. Martin Bass sentenced her to five years in prison, but suspended all but nine months.
“It is a miracle that this was only a child endangerment case,” said King George Commonwealth’s Attorney
“Leaving two children alone for a week without power or water, that is not a mistake. That is a crime.”
— Keri Gusmann
Keri Gusmann. “This could have been a real tragedy in that the kids could have been seriously hurt. Gusmann said the children, ages 11 and 14, “have been amazingly brave in dealing with this situation.”
The incident occurred in October 2012. Taylor, 35, of King George went to a party at Lake of the Woods after asking her mother, the children’s grandmother, to keep an eye on the two children. When Taylor had not returned after two days, the grandmother left the children alone.
The two children, a boy and a girl, have different fathers. After six days, the father of the 14-year-old boy, who did not live in King George, asked his sister who lives in King George to check on the situation. The sister, an aunt of the boy, found the children alone and unsupervised in a filthy house with no power, no water and little food. She contacted authorities.
“One of the primary jobs for those in law enforcement is to protect those thay cannot protect themselves,” Gusmann said. “My office and the King George Sheriff’s Office take that responsibility very seriously. The sheriff’s office did a great job investigating this matter. They worked diligently to provide my office with the evidence that was required for a successful prosecution.”
“Reasonable minds can differ about when a child is old enough to babysit or to get themselves off to the school bus,” Gusmann said. “Leaving two children alone for a week without power or water, that is not a mistake. That is a crime. My office and the King George Sheriff’s Office will do our best to ensure that those who put children in danger go to jail.”
Gusmann said the grandmother involved in the case, who was charged with two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, had entered a plea of guilty to both counts at an earlier court appearance. Joyce Dodson, 54, of King George was sentenced to 12 months on one charge with all of her jail time suspended. She was sentenced to 12 months on the second count as well, but required to serve two months of that sentence.
Because of a heart condition that would have been problematic and difficult for the jail to monitor, the grandmother, Dodson, was allowed to serve her remaining two month sentence at home with electronic incarceration and monitoring.