Rogers County authorities arrested a local woman Monday on allegations that she took a nonverbal 17-year-old boy across state lines and abandoned him.
Rogers County deputies arrested Janie Gill, 69, on a complaint of child neglect. Gill is awaiting extradition to Greenwood County, Kansas, where she is accused of abandoning her grandchild at a highway rest area. She faces complaints of aggravated endangering of a child and interference with law enforcement officers, according to the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office. The boy has been in protective custody since he was found.
“It’s just sad as all get out,” Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton said. “On a positive note, I really believe this kid’s going to come out better.”
Walton said the 17-year-old, who is possibly autistic and nonverbal, did not want to leave the house where he is now living for a court hearing because he has enjoyed the new residence.
Sheriff’s deputies from Greenwood County, Kansas, found the boy in late November at a rest area on U.S. 400, the Wichita Eagle reported. It was unclear Wednesday morning how long the boy had been there when Kansas deputies found him.
Walton said the boy could not communicate, had no money and no medication.
Greenwood County deputies shared the boy’s image on social media in an attempt to identify him. An Oklahoman identified the boy the same day, Walton said.
Gill was arrested earlier this week. She initially told investigators that she sent the boy to live with another relative in another state, Walton said. Investigators tracked that relative down to a Midwest state, where the relative lives alone in a nursing facility.
Walton said Gill later confessed to investigators, saying she could not handle the teenager and had sought help. Failing to find help, she allegedly elected to abandon him in Kansas for the state’s custody.