Police: Day Care Owner Charged After 5-Year-Old Girl Found Alone In Queens Supermarket

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A little girl who was found lost and hungry in a Queens supermarket has been reunited with her family and police say a woman has now been arrested.

When 5-year-old Essiah Love Miller walked into the Three Brothers Supermarket Wednesday evening, everything seemed OK at first.

“She was a little bit hungry and the cashier gave her some snacks, ice cream,” employee Carlos Cruz told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris. “She wasn’t scared, she wasn’t crying.”

But as time passed, store employees realized no one was looking after the little girl and that Essiah was lost.

“‘Do you know where you live?’ She didn’t know. ‘Where’s your parents?’ She didn’t know where they were,” Cruz said. “It was a big misunderstanding, I guess.”

Essiah stayed in the supermarket until police arrived and brought her to the precinct. When her aunt and legal guardian went to file a missing person’s report, they were reunited just before midnight.

Thursday morning, 35-year-old day care owner Trimeka Crum was walked out of the 101st precinct in handcuffs. She later made a court appearance on charges of acting in a manner injurious to a child, police said.

Investigators said Crum and her staff at Loving Caring and Sharing Daycare were supervising Essiah when Crum left the girl outside her Far Rockaway home without making sure someone was there to watch her.

Just after 6 p.m. Wednesday, surveillance cameras captured video of the girl running down Central Avenue about a block from her home before walking into the supermarket.

Crum’s attorney said it was all indeed a misunderstanding. The defense insists Crum saw the child go inside the home and waited two minutes before leaving.

Her attorney also said they have text messages to prove their arrangement “does not require someone come downstairs” to get Essiah.

But prosecutors said Crum “did not ensure the child was safely inside.”

As CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported, Crum’s husband was not happy to see news cameras outside the courthouse Thursday.

“I simply asked for a little respect,” he said.

Crum’s neighbor, Tony Henry, was surprised to hear about her arrest, 1010 WINS’ Samantha Liebman reported.

“She’s a good person,” he said. “I’m in shock.”

The city Health Department said it’s never received a complaint about Crum or the day care she opened about two and a half years ago, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported. However, the department said it sited the day care program last summer for a lack of training, but Crum did correct the problem.

Later Thursday night, the Office of Children and Family Services said it suspended and revoked Crum’s license to operate the program.

Cruz says he’s just happy the little girl ran to the right place.

“She knows she was safe here and I’m so happy she came here and not elsewhere,” he said.

CBS2 knocked on the door of Essiah’s legal guardians Thursday night and got no answers.

More From CBS New York

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
Get Our Morning Briefs
Bloomberg WCBS Tri-State Business Index

Watch & Listen LIVE