Rehoboth Beach Police Defend Arrest of Home Alone Kids' Mom

A mother’s 5-mile trip to pick up dinner while on vacation ended with her being charged with child endangerment.

Rehoboth Beach Police responded over the weekend to criticism over the Aug. 16 incident with 53-year-old Susan Terrillion.

“The arrest of Susan L. Terrillion involved a complex and multifaceted complaint that centered around one important factor; the safety and wellbeing of the children involved,” read a statement from Rehoboth Beach Police. “In this case, as in any other, the primary focus of the police is the protection of human life, especially those who cannot protect themselves.” [[391599591, C]]

Officers arrested the Olney, Maryland woman after someone called police around 7:30 p.m. to report Terrillion’s 9-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter came out of their vacation home along Country Club Drive to chase down their dog. A driver told officers the dog and children ran in front of his car. He then learned the children were home alone after helping them get control of the dog, said police.

Terrillion was gone from the children for about 45 minutes, said police.

“The investigating officer in this case, was called to the scene by a concerned citizen, conducted an investigation, and collected the facts,” said police. “Ms. Terrillion, who returned to the scene prior to the officer’s departure, was not arrested or taken from her children at the time of the incident. Ms. Terrillion was allowed to remain at the residence, with her children, while the officer continued the investigation away from the scene.”

Police would later charge Terrillion with two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment and allow her to surrender to police. She was arraigned and released on $500 bail.

People responded to the police Facebook post about the arrest with comments both supporting and criticizing the department's actions. [[391599591, C]]

"Shame on you for arresting this woman," said Sherry Wright Sthul.

"How dare this mom leave the kids alone," said Lynnette Rittenhouse.

There is no legal age in Delaware for leaving children home alone.

Sussex County prosecutors will decide how to proceed in the case, said police.

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