SAUCIER, MS (WLOX) - Authorities are searching for a Harrison County mother wanted for Felony Child Abuse. The man who was watching her little boy when he was injured last month has already turned himself in to deputies. The child is in stable condition at USA Medical Center in Mobile.
Sheriff Melvin Brisolara said the incident happened April 17 at a home on Palmer Creek Drive in Saucier. Joseph Mitchell Atkins, 23, called authorities to report the two-year-old he was babysitting had fallen off a trampoline and struck his head.
The little boy was airlifted to Mobile for treatment where medical personnel found evidence of both old and new injuries. They also told investigators the child's injuries were not consistent with a fall from a trampoline. Instead, they pointed to physical abuse.
Atkins said the child's mother, 25-year-old Melissa Marie Findlay, was not at home at the time of the most recent injury. But because the abuse appears to have happened over a longer period of time, investigators issued a warrant for her arrest, as well as Atkins.
Atkins surrendered to authorities Monday, May 6th and was booked into the Harrison County Adult Detention Center. He's charged with child abuse, and is being held on a $100,000 bond.
Melissa Findlay is still on the run, and authorities believe she may have fled to New Orleans. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call the Harrison County Sheriff's Office at (228) 865-7060 or Crime Stoppers at 1-877-787-5898.