Abandoned children found in Pineville

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

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PINEVILLE, N.C. —

A Rock Hill father is in jail because of a decision he admitted to police he should never have made.

Twenty-six-year-old Jeffery Thurman is charged with leaving his two children, ages 2 and 3, home alone late Sunday night while he drove to Pineville.

A neighbor, Cris Jaeger, called police after he heard a child crying outside his home on Mcdow Drive and looked out his front door. It was after 11 o'clock.

"It just freaked me out, seeing a kid out in a diaper," Jaeger said. "I said 'What are you doing out here?' and she looked at me, just dazed and crying."

The child was running down the sidewalk several houses down from her home. Jaeger wrapped her in a blanket and called police.

"She just fell asleep on my lap. She must've been tired," he said.

When police arrived, they found an open door at Thurman's home on Mcdow Drive. Officers yelled inside, then spotted another child, a 3-year-old asleep on a living room couch. There was no one else home.

While officers were there, the children's parents, Thurman and Azia Harmon, came home. Thurman told police he didn't want to wake his children up when he left for Pineville, so he didn't take them with him.

"They are very, very good parents. This is not a common thing," said Jennifer and Pete Moffitt, two close friends of the family.

They told Channel 9 they usually babysit for the family but were not able to last night.

"He didn't make any excuses to the police. He knew he made a mistake," Jennifer Moffitt said.

Pete Moffitt said that both young children know how to open the front door even when it's locked. They believe that's what happened.

"He's a good person, a good guy. I'm willing to bet my last dollar it'll never happen again," Pete said.

Thurman was still in jail late Monday on a $25,000 bond.

The children were left at home in the care of their mother. It's not clear if the Department of Social Services has been contacted.