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Two arrested on child neglect charges

October 10th, 2013 9:00 pm by Rain Smith

Two arrested on child neglect charges

Leticia L. Starnes and John Moore

A pair of Sullivan County residents have been arrested after they were allegedly found intoxicated and stumbling in public places, all while young children were in their care.

One suspect was at a Blountville school, while the other reportedly fell on top of a 3-year-old in a Kingsport parking lot.

John Moore, 46, of 126 Mobley Road, Blountville, and Leticia L. Starnes, 52, of 520 Kimbark Lane, Kingsport, were arrested in the incidents. They are each charged with public intoxication and child abuse or neglect.

The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office arrested Moore on Tuesday. Officers were called to Blountville Middle School, 1651 Blountville Blvd., on a report of an intoxicated man on the grounds with a young child.

When police arrived, a school administrator had taken custody of the child, while Moore was reportedly found "stumbling around and slurring his speech." An arrest report says Moore was unable to recite his ABCs and told police he had walked from his home with the child.

Moore was arrested and booked into jail, while the Department of Children's Services was contacted for placement of the child.

The second incident occurred Wednesday in Kingsport, near the intersection of North Wilcox Drive and East Sevier Avenue. Officers responded to a report of an intoxicated woman carrying a small child, finding Starnes sitting on the ground in a parking lot.

According to an affidavit filed in Kingsport court, a witness was holding the child, age 3, when police arrived. The witness said they had observed Starnes fall during multiple attempts to stand -- once "on top of" the toddler who accompanied her.

Police say Starnes, who was carrying a clear plastic bag containing two 24-ounce cans of beer, admitted to drinking earlier in the day. She was arrested and booked into the city jail.

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