A mother from Wilmette, a small, quiet North Shore suburb of Chicago, Illinois, was left facing potential child neglect charges after letting her 8-year-old daughter take the family dog for a walk.
By, 16 Jun 2019
The little girl was innocently walking her little dog around the block.
Nosey neighbours? Or concerned citizens?
But a local neighbour saw the girl walking alone and decided to call the local police.
Officers then arrived at the family home to investigate. When asked about the visit, Corey Widen, the young girl's mother, said:
"I was like really scared. I saw the police just there, like the police's car and I heard the like sirens going off."
Following a brief conversation, the police decided against pursuing the matter, although Corey was left embarrassed and ashamed by the incident.
But that wasn't the end of the family's legal struggles. Another complaint was made to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
The DCFS launched a two-week investigation and the Widen's were forced to hire legal representation to clear their name. Corey said:
"Apparently whoever called the police didn't think the police were a good enough judge of what was OK and not OK. Then they called DCFS. The police did not call DCFS."
Cleared of any wrongdoing
The DCFS filed no charges against the family, but Corey still has plenty of unanswered questions and a lingering distrust of her local community:
"You never know who did this to you and it turns your life upside down," said Corey. "I'm a homeschooled mom, and I'm always with my kids. You can accuse me of a lot of things, not supervising them, is not one of them. My entire life revolves around them."
When asked if she'd like to carry on walking the family's pet Maltese, Marshmellow, the little girl said she'd love to keep doing it.