Mom: 5 year-old daughter left behind at park by aftercare program

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A Lowcountry mother is upset.

She said her 5-year-old was left behind by her after school program at Mary Utsey playground in West Ashley on Thursday.

It's something happened that a parent dreads. Little Naomi’s mother said her 5-year-old was left on her own.

“I was hysterical," said Naomi’s mom Cristina Lewis. “I teach as well, so this is, as a parent, as a teacher, my biggest fear is to have to go through losing a child, my own, and anyone else’s child.”

A witness told police that Naomi was at the park with an aftercare program called Arts-A-Lot.

But when the children left on the bus, Naomi was still on the playground, crying by the swings.

Good Samaritans jumped in, according to Lewis.

Her daughter knew what to do as well.

“I was so happy that Naomi knew what I taught her, she knew to tell them her name, what school she went to, and that she lived in South Carolina,” said Lewis.

Naomi's photo and information quickly circulated on social media.

“Everyone was taking screen shots of the post and sending it to me,” said Lewis.

Police say her principal at Orange Grove Elementary Charter School stepped in to help.

The mother and daughter were reunited in the parking lot of the school.

“I got in the parking lot and I called the Director of the Arts-a-Lot aftercare program, and she didn’t even know that Naomi was missing, she thought she still had Naomi on the bus,” said Lewis.

We went to the address Lewis gave us for the aftercare program, but no one answered.

The Director of the program, Shaquana Grant, has not returned our calls either.

“This could have gone way south,” said Lewis, “Last night I could have been out with flashlights looking for her, she could have been abducted, she could be all the way in another state right now.”

Lewis said she was overwhelmed by the love and support by the good Samaritans who came to her little girl’s rescue.

According to Lewis, Naomi now has a secure place to go after school while her mom is still at work.

Her elementary school Orange Grove has admitted her into its afterschool program.

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