SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — Two South Carolina Department of Social Services case managers have been accused of abandoning a child at a Spartanburg County gas station.
Michelle Lorraine Holmes, 42, is charged with unlawfully placing a child at risk, while Marcus Antonio Hutchins, 26, is charged with criminal conspiracy, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
According to SLED, Holmes and Hutchins were taking a child to the Spartanburg County DSS office on March 6 when they stopped at a gas station on Fairforest Road.
“Our uniform patrol got dispatched to a juvenile with a language barrier in a restroom at a convenience store,” Lt. Kevin Bobo said.
Investigators said Hutchins took the child inside to use the restroom and then returned to the vehicle where Holmes was waiting. SLED said the two then left while the child was still inside.
When the child left the restroom and could not find the two DSS workers, he waited at the store while an employee called 911.
“The juvenile let us know that he was in a car with two DSS case workers,” Bobo said. “They had stopped for him to go to the bathroom. When he got out of the bathroom, they were gone.”
Bobo said the teenager spoke Spanish. Deputies used video from the store to determine that the juvenile was telling the truth.
“The two DSS workers had led their supervisor to believe that the juvenile had run out of the car or ran away from them,” Bobo said. “The video didn’t support their account. They more or less abandoned him at that store, that’s what the video showed.”
Warrants stated when they arrived at the Spartanburg County DSS office, Holmes and Hutchins told a supervisor that the child had walked off from them at the gas station.
Investigators said the child, who was a foreign national with no known family in South Carolina and spoke only limited English, had been placed into the custody of DSS by the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office.
Both Holmes and Hutchins are no longer employed by DSS. The child involved was a teenager, according to DSS officials.
Holmes and Hutchins were both booked into the Spartanburg County Detention Center and released on bond, according to the Sheriff’s Office.