Donald Gekonge and Darlene Aldrich: Parents leave toddler alone at Charleston home as they fly to New York
Police had made several unsuccessful attempts to contact the parents, Donald Gekonge and Darline Aldrich, both 24, but couldn't reach them
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: A two-year-old toddler was brazenly found alone in a South Carolina, Charleston apartment on November 17, as parents took a trip to New York. Donald Gekonge and Darlene Aldrich have been arrested on Monday, November 21 and face charges of one count of unlawful conduct toward a child in the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center. Police responded to a report around 2 pm that day suggesting a child has been abandoned in a complex on Folly Road Boulevard. As the police spoke with the apartment manager, who confirmed that 24-year-old Gekonge, the father lived in the unit where the young child was believed to be.
When the apartment manager couldn't get in touch with anyone there, management performed "an emergency walk-through." They went inside and discovered the child dozing off in the living room on a bed. When police arrived, the child "immediately reached for his empty water bottle" after waking up. The child appeared to be in good health, police said, aside from the exception that there was a dirty diaper, as per the New York Post.
Police had made several unsuccessful attempts to contact Gekonge and the child's mother, Darline Aldrich, both 24, but couldn't reach them. Gekonge then eventually dialed back the apartment building, and an officer was able to speak with him. According to the report in WBTW, Gekonge told the police that he was only a "few states away" after leaving the apartment at 6 am that morning. He later changed the story by stating that he was on a "business trip" to New York.
He also said he did not know who was taking care of the child but presumed that it was Aldrich, but his lie was soon nailed as obviously Aldric also wasn't home. Gekonge then again flipped the story and he even acknowledged that Aldrich was also in New York "for an emergency." His story had undergone another change that didn't fit well.
Gekonge and Aldrich have both been accused of inappropriate behavior toward a child. They were both still being held as of Tuesday afternoon. Aldrich's bond was set at $75,000, while Gekonge's was set at $50,000. A report said EMS responders transferred him to MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital for further examination.