Mom charged with abandoning children at Florida hospital, deputies say

DOTHAN, Ala (WDHN) — A Dothan mom was arrested in Florida after deputies say she abandoned two of her three children at a Destin hospital late at night.

On Friday, Nov. 3, Erica Suzanna Cook, 34, was arrested in Destin, Florida, and charged with two counts of unlawful desertion of a child.

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According to an arrest report, on the night of Aug. 14, Cook was driving through Destin with her three children, one being an infant, when she told her two oldest children they needed to help her get gas money. When she pulled over in the parking lot of the Destin Emergency Room, the two children got out, and she drove away, according to deputies.

The report said a security guard witnessed the incident and saw the two children running after the vehicle while it was driving off. The security guard took the children inside with a nurse.

Okaloosa County deputies wrote in the report that a short time later, Cook returned to the ER and asked the security guard about the children. After being told they were with the nurse, Cook told the guard she needed to go outside to get the infant from the car but instead drove away and did not return.

Deputies say they attempted to reach Cook multiple times after the incident but after several failed attempts, a warrant was issued for her arrest.

Okaloosa County Jail records show Cook was booked on a $2,000 bond and is awaiting a first appearance.

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