Two SC Department of Social Services employees were arrested after leaving a child in custody at a gas station earlier this year, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
On Monday, SLED charged 42-year-old Michelle Lorraine Holmes, a DSS case manager, with unlawfully endangering a child and intentionally abandoning a child, a felony, according to a press release. A second DSS case manager, Marcus Antonio Hutchins, 26, was charged with criminal conspiracy, also a misdemeanor.
The pair were transporting a child to the Spartanburg County DSS office on March 6 when they stopped at a gas station on Fairforest Road in Spartanburg, according to an affidavit. The child had been placed in DSS custody by the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office as a “stranger” with no known family in South Carolina. The child’s age was not disclosed.
Hutchins took the child to a public bathroom at the gas station while Holmes waited in the car, according to an affidavit. Once the child was in the bathroom, Hutchins left the store and the two case managers left the premises.
When the child, who had limited knowledge of English, couldn’t find Hutchins or Holmes, a gas station employee called 911.
Hutchins and Holmes later arrived at the DSS office. They led a supervisor to believe the child had strayed, according to SLED.
DSS declined to comment on the arrests, but said Hutchins and Holmes are no longer with the department.
Both defendants were booked into the Spartanburg County Detention Center. The South Carolina Attorney General will prosecute the case.
If found guilty, Hutchins could face a fine and up to 10 years in prison, under South Carolina law. Holmes could be fined up to $5,000 and jailed for up to five years.