Mother arrested after mentally challenged child found wandering Kingsport street

Rain Smith • Jul 23, 2013 at 9:27 AM

A Kingsport woman has been arrested after her young, mentally challenged son was found attempting to get into a neighbor's home, wearing only soiled underwear.An affidavit says the mother admitted to making a mistake and oversleeping, saying she was up late the previous night drinking liquor and listening to music. A couch had been placed in front of the child's bedroom door in an apparent attempt to keep him in his room, according to police, where urine soaked puppy pads lined his floor.Sherry M. Harris, 38, of 718 Myrtle St., is charged with child abuse and neglect. Court records say she was arrested late Sunday morning following a call to Kingsport police from a neighbor.That man reported that a confused child had came onto his porch and attempted to enter his home at approximately 11 a.m. Police say the boy, who is "mentally challenged," was wearing urine and feces soiled underwear, and was unable to communicate with officers where he lives.A check of the area reportedly located an open door at 718 Myrtle St. Two officers announced themselves and entered the home, at which time Harris came out of a back bedroom. Court records say her boyfriend was also in the bedroom.Police say they observed a couch that had been pushed against the door of the child's bedroom, intended as a "barricade" to keep him inside. A television in the adjacent living room had been left on so he could watch cartoons, but the boy apparently slid the couch away from his door and walked out of the home.Police say the child's room contained four "puppy pads" that had been urinated on. Cigarette butts, used diapers and food also reportedly littered his bedroom floor.Harris allegedly told police she had overslept and, "made a mistake." Court documents say she, "just wanted to stay up late and listen to some music," the night before, and had overslept after taking "a few shots" of liquor, two beers and half a Percocet.Kingsport police contacted the Department of Children's Services, arrested Harris and transported her to the city jail. Court records say the child was left in the temporary custody of Harris' longtime boyfriend.

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