Toddler found wandering in Phoenix backyard; mother arrested

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Melynie Marie Susnkewa By Christina O'Haver Melynie Marie Susnkewa By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- A woman has been arrested after her 2-year-old son was found wandering in the backyard of a west Phoenix home Saturday morning.

Melynie Marie Susnkewa, 20, was booked on child abuse charges.

About 8:30 a.m., Phoenix police officers responded to a call for a welfare check at a home near 57th Avenue and Indian School Road.

The occupants of the home told officers they heard sounds coming from the backyard throughout the night and woke up Saturday morning to find an uknown toddler walking around the yard.

The yard was enclosed by a locked fence. It had a swimming pool with water at the bottom and no pool fence.

Police said paramedics determined the boy was in relatively good condition, despite having been out in the rain.

"There was no bruising on the child," a neighbor said. "When he came in from the rain, she changed his clothes, showered him, warmed him up with a blanket."

He was found wearing a long-sleeve T-shirt, sweatpants and socks.

Police canvassed the area but were unable to locate the child's guardians. He was placed in the custody of Child Protective Services.

They later received a call from a family member of the boy who said she was at a wedding party Friday night near 51st and Campbell avenues. She told police Susunkewa was also at the party but left on foot with her son after becoming upset.

Officers located Susnkewa at a north Phoenix apartment and detained her for questioning.

She reportedly told investigators she had been fighting with her son's father earlier that night and was upset because a woman at the party wanted to fight her.

She said she ran from the party, jumping several residential fences and hiding under several vehicles before finally getting a ride home with a stranger. Police said she had scrapes on her body that appeared to have been from climbing fences.

She also reportedly told investigators she consumed several alcoholic drinks at the party and blacked out while in the area of 55th Avenue and Indian School Road.

She claimed she slept until 4 p.m. Saturday and then called her mother to ask where her son was.

Police issued a search warrant to determine Susnkewa's toxicity levels and booked her into the Fourth Avenue Jail.

She was released from jail at 9:50 a.m. Sunday, according to the Maricopa County Jail inmate hotline.

Editorial note: Police spelled the mother's last name Susunkewa, but court documents show it as Susnkewa. has chosen to go with the court's spelling.