A Florida mother has been charged with child neglect after authorities found her 3-year-old child asleep on the sidewalk wrapped in a blanket. Shyla Heidelberg, 25, was allegedly at a local nightclub in Fort Walton Beach at the time.
According to a news release from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), Heidelberg was arrested and charged with three counts of child neglect without bodily harm after police responded to a call at Gibson Street around 1 a.m. on Saturday morning. A security guard from the Choctaw Village Apartments, where Heidelberg and her children reside, discovered the sleeping toddler and led authorities to Heidelberg’s apartment, where two more young children were found asleep without supervision.
Heidelberg was detained after she returned to the apartment and reportedly admitted to police she had “gone out to a nightclub” 90 minutes before officers arrived on the premises. She was released from custody on Sunday according to jail records obtained by the New York Post, and denied the allegations during a brief interview with the outlet. She said video footage from her Ring doorbell camera proves she never left the children, and that several people from the nightclub can vouch for her whereabouts.
“It wasn’t true,” she briefly told the Post over the phone. “I have proof that I wasn’t in the club. A couple people can state that I wasn’t there.” She then reportedly hung up the phone.
It’s unclear if Heidelberg has hired legal representation.