Police: Mother charged after her children were found walking down public roadway alone

DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — A Dauphin County mother has been charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of children after authorities found her 1-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son walking down a public roadway alone.

The children were located Thursday on B Lane in Lower Swatara Township as two detectives were driving in the area to conduct a follow-up investigation for another case.

“I observed a very small girl, about 1-year-old, standing in the street with a small boy who was older than her, but he also appeared to be very young,” one of the detectives wrote in charging documents. “There were no adults with them and the boy was pulling on the girl’s arm and she was pulling away from him.”

That detective got out of the police vehicle and asked the boy if he knew the girl — he said it was his sister, according to charging documents. The detective then asked the boy where his parents were at and he advised that his mother was inside sleeping at a trailer (the child pointed to a trailer about five down from where they were standing).

They all went to the trailer and the boy told the detective that he would go inside and get his mother — he went inside for a moment and re-appeared with her, 28-year-old Elaine McHugh.

“It did appear that she had just woken up as she was fixing her hair and she was just putting pants on as she approached the door,” the detective wrote. “She also seemed slightly disoriented and foggy when I spoke with her as if she had just woke up from a sleep.”

The detective told McHugh that he found her children walking down the street from her home and asked her if she knew that. McHugh said yes, adding that she lets them do that.

The detective then advised that he would be calling Children and Youth Services as it wasn’t safe for her young kids to be walking alone on a roadway. She said that was fine and then told the detective to get off her property before slamming the door shut, charging documents say.

A warrant is currently out for McHugh’s arrest.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.