Police: Mom unaware child wandered from residence

An Altoona mother faces charges after her 2-year-old son was found in a backyard a street away from her apartment.

Laura Katherine Miller, 26, of 1914 10th St., Apt. 2, was unaware her child was missing when Altoona police showed up at her door about 1 p.m. Monday after the boy was found in a yard on the 800 block of 20th Avenue, according to police.

The child, found by a resident of 20th Avenue after the boy wandered into her yard, was wearing only a diaper, police said. The neighbor had changed the child’s diaper and told police it looked as if the previous diaper was one to two days old. Witnesses at the scene knew the child’s name, and when officers talked to his mother, Miller, they noticed she seemed unconcerned her child was missing from her apartment, police said.

The child was gone about 30 minutes, police said.

According to court records, Miller told police she had been upstairs folding clothes, and even took officers to an upstairs bedroom to show them the clothes basket.

Police said the room reeked of marijuana smoke and Miller tried to hide a pipe that was out in plain view. There was pot and other drug paraphernalia throughout the apartment, police alleged, and officers described the kitchen and living room of the apartment as littered with garbage and old food.

Miller allegedly told police the child slept on a mattress in the living room while a female roommate – a woman she said had lost custody of her own children because of improper care – slept on the couch.

The child was taken into protective custody by Blair County Children, Youth & Families, and Miller was booked on endangering the welfare of a child and possession of drug paraphernalia charges.

Miller, who remains free on a unsecured $10,000 bond, is due to appear at Central Court on Wednesday for a preliminary hearing on the charges.