Mom didn’t know her 2-year-old had been walking alone on a street for an hour, cops say

Jillian Lopes
Jillian Lopes Indian River County Sheriff's Office

A Vero Beach woman was arrested on felony child neglect charges after her 2-year-old was seen walking on a street alone for more than an hour, the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office says.

Jillian Lopes, 31, posted $5,000 bond Monday, about 15 hours after her Sunday night arrest. The child is with the father, who Deputy Daniel Hoffman had Lopes contact before he put her into handcuffs.

Hoffman’s redacted report says a suspicious-incident call brought him to the area of Lopes’ home around 6:30 p.m. He spoke to the person who made the call, apparently a neighbor, and saw the child, who was “wearing brown shorts with a diaper that was soiled, and a blue T-shirt.”

When he went over to Lopes’ home, a peek through the windows gave him a view of the television on in the living room and “two clear glasses on the kitchen counter filled with a clear liquid.”

Once he started knocking, he said, it took Lopes 15 minutes to answer the door.

“Jillian was unaware that [her child] had walked outside, walked down the street in the rain and was unsupervised for over an hour walking on 23rd Street Southwest,” Hoffman wrote.

When he asked where she was, she said she had been sleeping.

“As I was speaking to Jillian, a strong odor of alcohol was coming from her breath every time she spoke,” Hoffman wrote. “I asked if she had been drinking, at which time, she stated she had a glass of wine and then went to go lay down in her bedroom.”

After Lopes’ only previous arrest in Indian River County, she pleaded no contest to DUI in 2016 and received one year of probation.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.