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Mom Charged With Felony in Wandering Child Case

By Kamika Dunlap on June 24, 2010 12:46 PM

Ana Laura Rendon's 2-year-old daughter was found barefoot and crying more than a mile away from home. She now faces a felony charge in the wandering child case.

Now Ana Laura Rendon, 23, of Petaluma California faces a felony child endangerment charge, the Press Democrat reports.

Prosecutors upgraded the original charge from a misdemeanor to a felony. The 23-year-old mom pleaded not guilty to a child endangerment charge through an interpreter.

In general, child endangerment is a criminal offense that involves the subjection of minor children to inappropriate or dangerous situations. It also is quite different than child abuse, which typically involves direct harm to children.

In most cases, child endangerment is discovered during the investigation of other crimes.

Child endangerment cases have involved a range of inappropriate or dangerous situations from parents who are pulled over for speeding if infants are not secured in a car seat, to parents who neglect to provide their children with medical treatment for religious reasons.

Parents cannot be charged with child endangerment in some states if their actions are because of religious beliefs, but in recent years those laws have been changing.

In general, individuals who are convicted of child endangerment face imprisonment.

In this toddler case, the felony child endangerment for Ana Laura Rendon carries a maximum six-year prison sentence upon conviction.

Rendon's daughter, Joana was found by Petaluma residents. When police arrested Rendon, she had apparently been drinking and was unaware for at least 11 hours that the girl was gone.

Rendon's bail was $25,000 and she remained in custody on an additional immigration hold.

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