Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested the mother of a 4-year-old girl found alongside a highway early Wednesday morning.
Jeannae Raley, 34, and William Lollar, 44, 128 Sycamore Drive, were arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse, neglect and endangerment.
According to a sheriff’s office press release, Lollar is Raley’s fiance.
Washington County Sheriff’s Lt. Randall Wines said Raley told officers her daughter “had done something similar in the past.”
Wines also said the woman said the girl’s dog ran away recently “and she might have been trying to look for it.”
The residence and location the girl was found is only about a half mile apart, but it took more than seven hours for officers to locate the residence because the girl couldn’t tell them where she lived or her parents names.
Jonesborough Public Safety initially responded to the call because the girl was found inside town limits on East Main Street, just inside the Jonesborough town limits.
Callers told police the girl was sitting in a ditch, but by the time officers arrived, the girl was on the bridge near Timberidge Road.
Police said the girl was clothed, wearing shoes and a jacket and was carrying a blanket and her Elmo doll.
Shortly after finding the girl, police began knocking on doors, showing her photograph to residents, in an attempt to locate her parents.
By daylight, officers were continuing that effort but also going to daycare centers to see if anyone recognized her.
But the break came at a roadblock on East Main Street near Timberidge Road.
That’s where officers showed the photo to Jason Oaks, who lives next door to the family.
At first, Oaks didn’t recognize the girl.
“She looked familiar but I didn’t put two and two together,” Oaks said as he watched his neighbors being arrested.
“I went back and told them I could take them right to her house.”
And that’s what happened.
Oaks said he had met the parents and “they’re nice people.”
Still, he was shocked to learn the girl had been out since 2:30 a.m.
“My little girl is 6 years old and I always know where she is,” Oaks said.
Raley and Lollar are being held on a $50,000 bond each and will be arraigned in Washington County General Sessions Court Thursday.