“Home Alone” mom suing Muncie Police Department over arrest
Last December, Taylor Cumings’ photograph and name rocketed around the internet as the “Home Alone Mom” who literally left her children home alone, while they watched the movie of the same name, as she went to work.
An anonymous tip brought Muncie Police to Cumings’ front door, a call summoned the single mother from her job and within a few hours Taylor was in the Delaware County Jail and her two sons were staying with her aunt.
“There’s a lot of stuff going on in Muncie. They made a joke of me. Put my face out all over the world, not just in the paper but everywhere,” said Cumings, “and I get out and it’s a huge joke and it just disturbed everything and it’s not right.”
Cumings was charged with child neglect but Child Protective Services and the Delaware County Prosecutor dropped the case and now she’s suing the City of Muncie and the arresting police officer in federal court for false arrest.
“I’m a very humble person but there’s a million other single parents or single fathers, or you don’t even have to be single, just working parents that are in their same predicament and this isn’t right.”
Delaware County Prosecutor Eric Hoffman made the call to not pursue charges against Cumings.
“We did believe there was probable cause to make the arrest,” he said. “We also believed there was probable cause to file a charge but, again, we have to look beyond that and see if we can prove that charge beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.”
Hoffman said the Indiana Court of Appeals tossed out a conviction of neglect in another case when it found the children in question were not in any actual danger.
“In fact, what the Court of Appeals said is, there’s a fine line between criminal neglect of a dependent and poor parenting and what may be a parental mistake, and I think they called that a fine line and I would agree with that.”
Cumings said her sons, ages seven and four, were safe, had plenty of food, a phone to call their aunt down the street if they needed help and were instructed to not answer the door or look out the window.
Cumings said she left the older child home to take care of his little brother because the younger son had run a fever at school the day before.
Cumings was afraid of losing her job as a counselor for troubled youth if she were to take the day off to stay home with her boys, but she resigned anyway to avoid the stigma of being fired.
If one of her boys were to fall sick again, Cumings said she would call in sick and take the risk of losing her job.