Single Mother Of Five Arrested After Asking Her Teenage Daughter To Babysit

Innocent Mistake 

Parents try their best to care for their children, but occasionally something slips between the gaps. Where do we draw the line between an innocent mistake and neglect, given that no one is perfect? 

Melissa Henderson, a single mother from Georgia, had no idea what she was in for when she moved to a new place, entirely oblivious to the brutality and injustice that would befall her.

Moving To New Place

Henderson, a loving mother, moved to this idyllic-looking town because she felt it would be the ideal place for her children to grow up.

Everything was new for this family and they were excited about this new life. But they had no idea how difficult it would get for them here.

Financial Troubles

It was 2020 and Covid-19 had hit the countries badly. The then 41-years-old single mother was facing financial troubles. On top of this, the daycare centers were closed.

The working mother of five children had a lot on her plate as a result of this combination, all while dealing with the worries of a terrible epidemic.


The woman was in a difficult situation since the childcare centers were closed and she needed to go to work. She had no alternative but to leave her then-14-year-old daughter Linley to care for the four other children while working as a health spa administrator.

Of course, this wasn't a big deal. But things were going to take a very bad turn.

Missing Kid

The teenager was completing her homework at home when she saw that her then-4-year-old brother had vanished. He had gone to a neighbor's house without a shirt on and stayed with his pal.

After approximately 15 minutes, she discovered her brother was missing and tracked him down at a neighbor's house. Again, this was nothing strange until the neighbor did something. 

Police Being Called

The boy's friend's mother decided to call 911. The fatigued mother returned home after a long day at work and was taken aback when she found two police cruisers parked in the driveway.

They told her what had happened, but then they departed. This looked to be the end of the disaster once more, but it was far from it.

Arresting The Mother

After a few weeks, Henderson was notified of a warrant for her arrest. She wanted to make sure she had a babysitter before turning herself in. She was, however, stopped in her tracks.

Five police cars pulled up in front of her house before she could make sure someone could look after her children. In front of her children, they handcuffed her.

Horrible Experience

She was subsequently taken to Union County Jail and placed in a holding cell. She remembered, "I almost don't have words for how low it made me truly feel in the bottom of my heart that, if I'm anything, it's a good mother..."

"To be stripped of that to the point where you are handcuffed in front of them."

Wrongfully Charged

The mother was charged with criminally reckless conduct. If she was found guilty of this offense, she would have to pay a $1,000 fine and serve up to a year in prison.

Henderson expressed her disbelief at being regarded as though she had done a horrific crime.

Long Way To Go

In her own words, "I was being treated like an actual criminal. The whole time I remember thinking, 'This isn't right; I don't belong here.' I was mortified that that was the situation I was thrown into."

"I remember curling up in a ball in the corner and just wanting to hide," she added. Her ex-husband was able to bail her out. However, this lawsuit was only the beginning of a long-running story that continues to this day.


Her son might have been in danger, according to the officer who detained her. He speculated that the boy had been kidnapped or had been bitten by a deadly snake.

Another claim is that the teen daughter suffers from ADHD, a learning disability, and is hence unsuitable to care for her younger siblings.

Public Support

Throughout the lawsuit, however, many people have rallied for her, offering financial support through a GoFundMe page.

This is available to support the mother, whose financial situation has been precarious since the lawsuit began. It has raised $22,000 thus far.


More than that, individuals have shown their emotional support for her, even in the GoFundMe comment area. One person stated, "Old, white men [who don't have a clue] still make the rules in this country without providing the support needed, and it disgusts me! Good luck, Melissa and babies."

Many others wished her well and complimented her on her lovely family. Many of her supporters expressed regret that she had to go through this.

Unlawful Charges

Her lawyer, Mr. David DeLugas, who specializes in cases when parents are accused without cause, is also assisting her.

According to the Georgia Supreme Court in 1997, the claims were unlawful. This indicates that charging a mother or father for what may be called routine parenting is not permitted.

Trauma Suffered

Despite the outpour of support and sympathy, Henderson is still concerned about her and her children's future.

The mother is also unlikely to recover from the trauma she experienced, particularly on the night of her arrest. Makes you wonder about the justice system around the world.