3-year-old spotted walking alone on road in Lake Charles; parents arrested

Topsy Bel Road is heavily traveled at times and vehicles often drive 45 miles per hour or more.
Topsy Bel Road is heavily traveled at times and vehicles often drive 45 miles per hour or more.(Theresa Schmidt kplc)
Updated: Jan. 4, 2021 at 7:43 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Sunday afternoon, a little after 2 p.m., a woman driving on Topsy Bel Road was stunned to see a three-year-old boy walking on the road, alone.

The woman immediately stopped her car and tended to the child, walking him to the parking lot of a nearby church. She then called Jeff Davis sheriff’s deputies. Deputies say the child’s mother had left the residence, driving to a nearby store and that the father was not watching him. The woman who alerted authorities spoke to us, but we agreed not to identify her.

“I was driving down Topsy Road with my children and we saw a little boy cross the road and he was standing on the side of the road. And I instructed my daughter to stop so I could get out and check on him. And he told me he wanted his mama and I told him I needed to help him find his mama, where was mama. And he didn’t know. He didn’t know which direction home was, and so I took him to the church and I called 911,” she said.

Both parents, Rochelle Renee Riley, 41 and Brock Kevin Manuel, 27, of Roy Reeves Road were arrested and booked for criminal abandonment. The children were turned over to their grandmother.

The woman who stopped says she’s talking because she’s concerned about children.

“I was told that his mother went down to the store and he followed her. His father was out in the yard working on equipment. Apparently did not notice that he went missing. He was in the middle of Topsy Bel Road. When he saw cars coming, he walked over to the side of the road. He was wearing pajamas and a pair of rubber boots. We’re parents. It’s our job to protect our babies. Do your job, watch your babies. It’s a substandard world. They need you to watch them.” the woman estimates the child walked about a half mile from home before she spotted him.

At last word, the parents were still in jail and the report had not yet been turned over to the district attorney so formal charges are pending.

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