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HomeNewsGone Smoking – Augusta Dad Leaves Girl Alone to Hang at Store

Gone Smoking – Augusta Dad Leaves Girl Alone to Hang at Store


An Augusta man left his 6-year-old daughter at home alone for over two hours Monday to hang out and smoke with friends at a convenience store, authorities said.

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Earnest Lee Watkins Jr., 27, was arrested after the girl was found playing by herself in a breezeway outside her apartment at High Pointe Crossing Apartments, according to a sheriff’s report. An apartment manager called the sheriff’s office after finding the girl at 11:30 a.m. Monday.

The girl’s mother was at work and told authorities Watkins was supposed to leave the girl with a friend while he reported to to Fort Gordon for duty with the U.S. Army at 9 a.m., a report says. But Watkins was not at work; he was hanging with friends at the CK Store.

Watkins showed up at home at 1 p.m. Tuesday and lied three times about where he was, including a story about leaving the girl at the playground with friends. But the girl told officers she had never been at the playground.

Finally, Watkins confessed that “he had driven to CK Mart and hung out and smoked several cigarettes while talking to several different people,” the report says.

Watkins was charged with deprivation of a minor. DFACS officials were notified.

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Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.


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