BRADENTON -- A woman was charged with child neglect Tuesday after an incident where she took her 9-year-old child to a field, falsely claimed she was having a baby, took her clothes off and made the child run for help, according to the Bradenton Police Department.
Police officers responded to Manatee Memorial Hospital on a call about possible child abuse, according to an arrest report. They learned from hospital personnel that Rachel Richards, 28, had arrived a few hours earlier with a 9-year-old child.
Richards reportedly woke the child up earlier that day and told him they needed to go, and he was not sure where they were going. They were walking down 14th Street West when Richards entered an empty field and started screaming that she was having a baby, according to the report. She stripped from the waist down, and the child ran to the Salvation Army for help.
Officials at the Salvation Army contacted emergency medical services, which led to the hospital visit. Nurses said Richards was saying she was 38 weeks pregnant, but the officer said she clearly was not. A drug screen of Richards yielded positive results for opiates, marijuana and amphetamines.
Police said the child was extremely dirty and could not remember the last time he ate.
In an interview with police, Richards said she did not remember that morning or the day before. She also said she used heroin on a daily basis and had last used the previous day, and that she had used the bathroom of the motel room while the child was in the main room.
Richards was charged with child neglect without great harm and is being held in the Manatee County jail on $5,000 bond.