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Grandmother arrested after deputy finds 3-year-old playing in middle of road

WEST MONROE, La. - A West Monroe woman has been arrested after deputies found her 3-year-old grandson playing in the middle of the street.

Martha Kaplan, 58 of West Monroe, was arrested at 10:24 a.m. on March 10, 2018.

According to the arrest report, a Ouachita Parish deputy was performing a routine patrol when they noticed a small child playing in the middle of Wellerman Road with no adult or other child around.

The deputy grabbed the child and took him off the roadway before he was struck by a vehicle.

Traffic had to come to a complete stop during this time.

Once the deputy took custody of the child, an unknown passerby advised the child belonged to a resident located at 110 Willow Branch. The deputy went to the residence and made contact with the child’s grandmother, Martha Kaplan.

Martha told the deputy the 3-year-old child did belong at the residence and she was in charge of watching him.

Before the deputy could say anything else, Kaplan said, “please don’t take me to jail”.

Kaplan said she allows the child to play outside by himself without any adult supervision. She said earlier that same day, an unknown female brought him back to the residence because he was roughly ¼ of a mile down Willow Branch playing in the road way and told the deputy “he was only outside by himself for 5 minutes this time”. During the interview, deputies said Kaplan seemed to not care about the child’s welfare.

The deputy said not one time during the interview did she even ask where the child was. The deputy had to ask Kaplan if she wanted to see the child which was in the back of his patrol unit. When the deputy asked Kaplan to sit with the child, she said, “well, if you want me to”.

Kaplan was booked into the Ouachita Correctional Center on one count of child desertion.

Her bond has not yet been set.

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