CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WTVC-TV) - A 4-year-old boy, beer in hand, is accused of stealing Christmas presents from his neighbors. It's a strange story, but also a sad one.
April Wright is 21 years old and is going through a divorce with her husband who is in jail. She says she is not sure how her 4-year-old managed to get out of the house, open a beer, and steal the neighbors presents from under their tree. Now she's just glad he's okay and says she won't let it happen again.
The child, Hayden Wright, was found around 1:45 am Tuesday, wandering the streets of his neighborhood. In a police reports, officers said he was wearing a little girl's dress and drinking a beer. The police report says the child had to be taken to the hospital to be treated for alcohol consumption.
April Wright said, "Biggest concern was him being out there, getting kidnapped, getting run over, the alcohol, having to have his stomach pumped."
Wright says she woke up that night at 1:45 am and panicked when she found Hayden was gone. She says she put safety devices on all the doors so her kids couldn't get out, but Hayden was able to break the safety device off the doorknob and get outside.
Once out, Wright says her four year old followed his father's footsteps and was found on Blue Spruce Road, drinking.
"He runs away trying to find his father," she said. "He wants to get in trouble so he can go to jail because that's where his daddy is."
The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office report says Hayden rang the doorbell a few houses down and the neighbor answered, finding the child holding a partially consumeed 12-ounce beer.
Wright said, "He got it out of my father's cooler in the back and how he got it open I don't understand because it was one of those tab beers."
But it doesn't stop there. The report said Hayden then snuck into a neighbor's house through an unlocked front door, and stole five wrapped Christmas gifts. One was a girl's brown dress which Hayden was wearing when police found him.
"Going to the neighbor's house and taking their presents, very embarrassing," said April.
She admits she was not just embarrassed, but scared, and rushed to the hospital that night with Hayden. She said she tries to be a good mother and loves her son, but now feels like a failure.
"Kids do things like this and it's out of your control, you can do the best you can as a mother, everyone makes mistakes, it was an honest mistake," she said.
Wright did meet with child protective services today who told her she will get to keep custody of Hayden.