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Tot Abandoned at Wal-Mart

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The boy was abandoned June 13; his mother was found and arrested on August 4.


UPDATE: The woman seen on surveillance video leaving her 3-year-old son in Wal-Mart was taken into custody in Indianapolis Monday night, police said. A tip led officers to Julia Ornelas, 39. She was taken into custody without incident. The mother of Julian Ornelas, 3, is being charged with suspicion of neglect of a dependent.

A mother in Indiana left her son behind because she couldn't afford food, clothing, or shelter, she says. Do you feel for her or just think she's a bad mom?

The woman left her son, "Martin," at the store with a backpack full of toys, a bottle and a note explaining why she could no longer care for him. The note was written in Spanish and said the woman had no means to support the child because the boy's father had left her. It said she has no food, no place to live, and no job and that her son was starving.

What do you think of this mother? Did she make the ultimate sacrifice for her child, or was this the worst thing she could have done to her little boy?

next: Breastfeeding on the Double-D Train
19 comments so far | Post a comment now
Tina June 18, 2008, 6:10 PM

There are homeless shelters and womens shelters for people like her, but it sounds like she might not have known how to contact or find these places if she spoke little english. A tragedy for the boy, I wonder if he understands?

Amy June 18, 2008, 7:00 PM

My heart breaks for this mother and this child. I can’t fathom how it must feel to not be able to feed, clothe, and put a roof over the heads of my two daughters - it would break my heart. I don’t know that I would abandon them in a Wal-Mart, but as she doesn’t perhaps know English, she must have felt she had no choice?

SugarPlumFairy June 18, 2008, 8:05 PM

While my heart goes out to the mom I cannot imagine the trauma that this child will experience once he realizes that his mother left him. There had to be another solution besides abandoning your child in a Wal-Mart. Put him up for adoption —there have to be other options.

Jul June 19, 2008, 12:06 AM

Wow, that is so messed up! I hope they never find the mother cuz she is not fit to be his mother. At least she didnt hurt the child and hide him somewhere. i hope he can live on with his life and find a better home. I feel so bad for this kid.

Cindy June 19, 2008, 6:21 AM

She should of taken the boy to the Welfare offices instead. What if someone had picked him up and hurt him. Isn’t there places to leave unwanted children????

Bekah June 19, 2008, 11:44 AM

I live in the town where this young boy was abandoned. Until recently I worked in a public place, here in Frankfort. This story doesn’t surprise me at all. This is a small, stereotypical Indiana town. People are friendly & kind. Hispanics in this area tend to think public places are safer than they truly are. (We constantly were having to remind parents of our unattended child policy at my previous employer.)And, it probably is a lot safer than the place they left. My guess is, that while there are plenty of programs here to help those in need, no questions asked about your legal situation, this mom really did think she was leaving him somewhere safe. Our Wal-Mart feels safe. I know better b/c I grew up here. But it still feels safe. I hate that she did it. As a mother, you should have no concern for your own safety, you should do what’s safest for your child. In this case, she should have taken him to the authorities. But, being familiar with the situation involving Hispanics in this area, I understand, and believe she thought she was leaving him in a safe haven.

Anon June 19, 2008, 12:28 PM

The mother is probably an illegal alien who shouldn’t even be here!

Grace M. June 20, 2008, 10:26 AM

It makes me sick to think that a mother could leave her child anywhere. I can not imagine a second with out my son.

Annabel June 20, 2008, 12:47 PM

I feel really sorry for those who cannot fathom this woman’s experience and her struggle. Do you not think it was difficult to make this decision? Do you think that her background made it easier for her to do this? Absolutely not! I’m ashamed for those who feel are making this an issue of race. That has nothing to do with it. It’s embarrassing that our failing economy cannot provide people the tools to take care of themselves and their children. As for Martin, it is necessary that he receives the care and attention that he needs, he is a child and deserves our love.

From a mom perspective June 20, 2008, 4:05 PM

Although there are other better alternative solutions this mother could have chosen, it maybe that she wasn’t aware of them and or was afraid of her status. The main thing is that this child is will no longer continue to be in a dangerous situation.

Michelle June 20, 2008, 5:31 PM

This is a terrible situation for any mother to have to make. She may be living here illegally and is scared of the government and therefore would not risk going to a homeless shelter. Immigrants face fear daily in this country, esp. with all the raids on workplaces and the schools. This situation is only going to get worst as we see the economy continue to slip downward and people are looking for a scapegoat to blame this on and therefore support anti-immigration policies that make the US seem like a police-state. This is truly a sad story and should never be a choice a woman has to make. I’m sure this woman is in agony. I hope the boy is being cared for.

Bree June 20, 2008, 6:04 PM

I think the mother had more options than abandoning her son. Wal-Mart is not equivalent to a dog pound. What if a pedophile got a hold of the child?? Circumstances sound heartbreaking, but you have to think of the child first. I have to feel that the mother “threw” him away because the little boy was the hurtful link to his father. The poor little boy probably didn’t know what to think. His father left and now his mother does not want him.

jenefer June 20, 2008, 11:04 PM

That is so sad, i can’t imagine how that little boy must feel. some people maybe thinking she abandoned her son, but i don’t think she knew she had other options. this story could have turned out worst, it could have turned out as “a two year old in Indiana found dead”! She left a note explaining why she felt she had to do it. kids get abandoned by someone who is able to care for them and choose not to. so yes i do feel for the mother.

trish June 30, 2008, 4:21 PM

I really dont think it should matter if the mother is an illegal alien im pretty sure she just didnt know what to do at the time, but she will regret it sooner or later. Poor baby I hope he’s not confused.

ck August 6, 2008, 12:44 PM

this story is very sad. Maybe the woman does not know any English. I think she could have taken the child to a hospital or a police station or yes even a shelter. Anyone could have taken this child from Walmart, including a predator. I feel very sorry for this woman. This must have been a very hard decision for her. I am sure she just wanted her child to survive.

HB August 6, 2008, 4:35 PM

I think what some of you have written is right that she just didn’t know what else to do or where else to go for help. I’m sorry she didn’t have common sense to seek help from a church or even leave him on the steps of a police department. I agree that this must have been an amazingly difficult decision for her to make. I don’t think she would have taken the time to write a note had she not loved him very much.

Anonymous August 7, 2008, 10:32 AM

Illegal alien or not, race has NOTHING to do with it. At least she didn’t kill her little boy. WHITE people have killed their children. I watch Nancy Grace and see White people on there for killing their kids, putting them in danger, yet no one says it is because they are white.

Trisha V August 8, 2008, 9:30 AM

There is always a way to feed your children. I have been through some very hard times, but feeding my children was always number one priority. They have never gone without. I suppose not having a good support system and not speaking english could impact her decision. I still don’t think that just leaving the child in a store is the smartest idea. All this lady had to do was go to a local police or fire station, or any kind of public service building and they could have helped her. Where there is a will there’s a way.

David S.Walenski April 14, 2010, 6:59 PM

It’s hard to say whether I want to blame her 100% by a half of a story without all the facts. But in saying this,I’m sure there were other places to go for help,police,food kitchens and probably other hispanic speaking people around to talk too. I give her at least 35% of the blame. Was she and her husband both illegals, thats the question.

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