SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - It was a mystery that gripped a mid-state town for hours. A two-year-old was found wandering in the street alone, and his father told police he dozed off after an all-night XBOX binge.
Police said that boy's father, Cody Butters, was charged with child abuse and neglect.
But in May, Clarksville Police had a similar situation -- a two-year-old somehow got out of his home after his mother fell asleep, but there were no criminal charges filed in that case.
Nashville attorney David Raybin said the circumstances often dictate whether charges are filed against a parent in cases like these.
"You look at the age of the child, whether the child was injured or not, the degree of potential harm to the child, how long was the child outside, did the parent call or did someone else find the child," said Raybin.
While police and prosecutors have a lot of choice on what they end up charging a parent with -- one thing is almost always assured -- an investigation by the state Department of Childrens Services, which can carry additional consequences, including the removal of the child from the home.