Florida Mother Arrested After Children Walked Alone on 436

Tanice Spence-Clarke, a 38-year-old mother from Florida, was taken into custody and faced charges of child abuse on April 20, 2024. Her two boys, whose ages were not released, were left unattended and crossed a major highway to go to Walmart.

The underage boys were discovered unsupervised at the Walmart on State Road 436 in Casselberry at around 6:45 p.m., prompting concerned residents to notify the police. According to the children, their mother, Spence-Clarke, was last seen in a barbershop on the 900 block of SR-436. The kids walked the 1.2 miles from the barbershop to the Walmart.

Spence-Clarke was not reachable when the police attempted to contact her via phone. They managed to contact the boys’ dad, who was completely unaware that his sons were missing. He proceeded to Walmart and provided the authorities with another number for Spence-Clarke, but that call went to voicemail. Spence-Clarke showed up at the Walmart at 8 PM and had an ever-evolving story about what happened. She contradicted herself and was, at times, incoherent.

She added that her car broke down and requested assistance from her sister and brother-in-law; this would account for the absence of groceries in her car as they were transferred to another vehicle. The brother-in-law arrived at the location and said Spence-Clarke was home at around 5:30 p.m., but he was “confused” by the police’s inquiries regarding the car problem. The affidavit listed Spence-Clarke as a caregiver, but no other details were provided.

After posting $2,500 bail, she was freed from the Seminole County Jail.

In 2017, there was an eerily similar incident.  A mother was taken into custody when motorists in Kentucky saw her kid, who was four years old at the time, wandering alone on a highway, seemingly making his way to Walmart.

Near Williamsburg, Kentucky, on U.S. Route 25, at least 1/4 mile from home, Vanderpool’s child was discovered strolling on a sidewalk. The boy’s great-grandparents were reportedly unable to provide enough care for him when Vanderpool abandoned him with them.

The youngster informed the motorist, who pulled over and dialed 911, that “his mamaw” said he could walk to Walmart, which was three miles away.

24-year-old Barbara Vanderpool was charged with endangering the welfare of a youngster.