By Max Hrenda
A husband and wife are in jail and an autistic child is in the care of relatives after police said the boy was discovered walking the streets wearing only a t-shirt more than a quarter-mile from his house.
On Saturday, Steve Kelly Phillips, 28, and Tracy Darlene Phillips, 29, both of 149 Mill Pond Road Lot 13, Elizabethton, were each arrested on charges of child neglect after their 7-year-old son was found roaming the streets by officers with the Carter County Sheriff’s Department.
At about 10 Saturday morning, Lt. Keith Range responded to a call from a concerned resident of Mill Pond Road, who noticed the half-naked boy walking through his property. When Range found the boy, the child was wearing only a wet t-shirt.
After failing to successfully communicate with the boy, Range reported that he placed him in the back of a sheriff’s cruiser, after taking his picture on his cellphone to canvass the neighborhood. Range wrote that he tried several houses before he came across someone who was familiar with the boy and knew where he lived. When Range arrived at the Mill Pond Road residence, he noted that he had found the boy about one-quarter of a mile away.