Long Beach police were surprised to get a call reporting two toddlers wandering alone down a sidewalk in Long Beach, California. The Long Beach police immediately set out to locate the children and get them safe.
Soon after finding the toddlers, Long Beach police asked for the public’s help in identifying them, which they did a few hours later. Once the children’s identity was learned, the police again enlisted the help of the community in ascertaining the identity and whereabouts of their parent(s) or guardian(s).
A few hours later, Shenae Irene Dixon, the toddlers’ mother, was located in an unincorporated section of Florence-Firestone thanks to a tip from a bystander who recognized her from the television. Dixon, 23, appeared to be in good health and the police took her into custody immediately. Dixon was transferred to Long Beach police detectives to undergo questioning, and once their questioning was complete, Dixon was arrested under suspicion of child endangerment.
Child endangerment is covered under California Penal Code 273a PC, and can be described as willfully allowing a child in one’s care to be injured, put in danger, or suffer unjustifiable mental or physical harm.
Penal Code 273a PC can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on whether or not great bodily injury was inflicted on the child due to the endangerment. If no great bodily harm came to the child, Penalties for misdemeanor convictions include up to 1-year in county jail. Felony convictions, however, are much steeper. They include a stay of anywhere from 2 to 6-years in California State Prison.