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A 31-year-old Racine woman faces three felony charges of child neglect after a neighbor found one of her children wandering outside Aug. 15 at 2:32 a.m.

Each of the felonies filed Tuesday in Racine County Circuit Court against Melissa A. Thomas carries a fine of $25,000 and 10 years in prison.

According to the criminal complaint: A Racine police officer was dispatched to Franklin Street after dispatch received a call that Thomas had left her 3- and 2-year-old children alone in the upper apartment.
A neighbor found the 3-year-old wandering in the 1800 block of Franklin Street.

Police spoke to the defendant’s sister, who said Harris must have left earlier in the evening and left her children alone. The sister stated Harris has “been doing this ever since having children,” and that she was going to court to get custody. The sister also said that last year, the defendant disappeared for three months, and that she had taken the children in on her own.

Court records indicate that Harris made her initial appearance Tuesday afternoon.

Rex Davenport

Rex Davenport is a reporter, editor and editorial project manager with more than 40 years of experience in newspaper, business magazines and other content channels.