Chestertown parents face charges after toddler found wandering on SR 8

CHESTERTOWN, N.Y. – Chestertown parents were arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child after their two-year-old was found wandering in the road.

State Police at Chestertown said that at approximately 9 p.m. Tuesday, a passing motorist spotted Eleanor Cullen walking in the road and brought her to the Horicon Fire Department, and the State Police were called.

The investigation revealed that the child exited her residence and walked south on Market Street, near the Mill Pond then crossed State Route 8 and was spotted along the south shoulder near the post office.

The child was unattended for 30-45 minutes.

Her father, 26-year-old James Cullen, said he and his wife, 23-year-old Bianca Cullen, thought their daughter had fallen asleep under some blankets on the living room sofa where they had laid her down to watch a movie.

James said he periodically looked at the couch and believed Eleanor was under the blankets.

“Nothing gave me reason to believe that she was missing,” he said. “The door was closed. The dogs were inside. Nothing was out of place, and then the officer comes knocking at my door saying we have a child at the firehouse and me and my wife’s hearts dropped. We were like, ‘What?’ And then we moved the blankets and there was no Eleanor there.”

James said he had no idea his daughter knew how to unlock the door as well as a deadbolt. He said he installed a third lock out of Eleanor’s reach that night.

“I’m not going to let it happen again,” he said.

The only thing James disputes of the police report is how far Eleanor made it from home. He said she was down the end of the street.

James and Bianca were both charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and they were issued appearance tickets for Horicon Town Court.

Child Protective Services is also now involved.

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