CPD: Parents arrested for leaving toddler alone while on trip to New York

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston Police Department (CPD) on Monday arrested two people for leaving their two-year-old child alone while on a trip to New York.

According to CPD, officers were called to a Folly Road apartment complex around 2:00 p.m. on November 17 after someone reported a toddler alone in an apartment. A witness told officers that the child’s father, Donald Gekonge (24), sent a text saying he was in New York for business.

The apartment manager was unable to make contact with anyone in the apartment, so management conducted “an emergency walk through.”

Inside, they found the child sleeping on a bed in the living room. When police entered, the child woke up and “immediately reached for his empty water bottle.” With the exception of a dirty diaper, police said the child seemed to be in good health.

Foster care services responded to the scene and changed the diaper, put fresh clothes on the child, and transported him to Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital.

Police tried to reach Gekonge and the child’s mother, Darline Aldrich (24) several times, but were initially unsuccessful. Eventually, Gekonge called the apartment complex, at which point an officer was able to speak to him.

According to the report, Gekonge said that he left the apartment around 6:00 a.m. that morning and he was only “a few states away.” He later admitted that he was in New York “on business” and that he did not know who was taking care of the child, but assumed it was Aldrich. Gekonge’s story changed again when he admitted that Aldrich was also in New York “for an emergency.”

Both Gekonge and Aldrich were arrested on charges of unlawful conduct towards a child. As of Tuesday afternoon, they were both still in custody. Gekonge is being held on a $50,000 bond and Aldrich is being held on a $75,000 bond.