LOS ANGELES (CBS SF) — Neighbors of a Walnut Creek mother who allegedly abandoned her 6-year-old son at a train station in Los Angeles on the Fourth of July are stunned.
Los Angeles authorities have accused Dava Denise Webster, 31, of abandoning her son at the Union Station. Monday she plead not guilty to child endangerment charges and is facing years in prison.
“I just can’t believe that she would give up and leave her child like that and he could’ve got hurt,” said neighbor Kym Davenport.
They say right before the 31-year-old mom moved out of her apartment a few weeks ago, she had shown signs of mental health issues. She said she would hear voices and they was telling her not to leave the house.
“You’d think she was on her cell phone and she’d be pretty much just speaking to herself,” said Leslie Patterson, another neighbor.
Recently, Patterson said Webster had started complaining that she was overwhelmed caring for her son who neighbors say is autistic and non-verbal.
Adrienne Garrett, a supervisor at Cafe Crepe, told CBS LA that the boy was initially sitting with a woman at a table outside the eatery for about 30 minutes.
Garrett said she later spotted the woman wandering around Union Station without the boy. When she asked her about him, the woman walked out of the station.
“He was sitting eating a pretzel for about 30 minutes or so, and then we noticed that the woman that he was with kind of just wandered off,” she said. “And when we did find her back in this area again, we tried to notify her, ‘like, hey, this child I’m hoping is yours is here,’ but she literally walked right out the door.”
After statewide plea for help in identifying the boy, someone who recognized the child, came forward and he was reunited with family.
LAPD Sgt. Hector Guzman said the boy was initially believed to be deaf and possibly autistic, and his inability to communicate hampered the investigation into how he ended up unattended and who had left him at the station.
Webster was arrested Thursday afternoon when she returned to Union Station 19 hours after walking away from the boy. She is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail and faces up to six years in prison if convicted as charged.
Meantime, her son is with family members. Her neighbors say they can only hope Webster gets the help she needs.