Florida Department of Children and Families takes tourist's daughter

Philadelphia woman faces child neglect charge in Miami-Dade County

By Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

SOUTH BEACH, Fla. - A 3-year-old girl walked out of a hotel room in South Beach after spending more than four hours alone without access to food or water, according to Miami Beach Police Department officers.

Officers arrested Courtney Williford, a 23-year-old tourist from Philadelphia, Wednesday night after her daughter allegedly walked alone downstairs to the hotel lobby to get help.

Prosecutors charged Williford with felony child neglect with no great bodily harm. And during a hearing Thursday, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ellen S. Venzer ordered her to stay away from her daughter. 

"The child could have reasonably fallen into the hotel pool, wandered into traffic or become lost due to the neglect," officers wrote in the report the department released Thursday. 

A Miami Beach Fire Rescue paramedic performed a quick checkup on the girl and determined she did not require any medical attention. The Florida Department of Children and Families has custody of the girl.

According to the arrest form, officers responded to the Aqua Hotel at 1530 Collins Ave., in South Beach Wednesday. The hotel's front desk clerk told them he found the girl about 7:15 p.m. Hotel employees said they saw Williford leaving the hotel about 3:30 p.m. 

Officers said Williford returned to the hotel about 8 p.m., saying she is a single mother, and she didn't have anyone to help her. She also allegedly said that since her original intent was to step out of the room briefly to get food for her daughter, she had asked the child not to touch the door. 

"I asked the defendant what food she bought her daughter, having entered the hotel with no food in  hand, and she did not respond," the officer wrote in the report. 

Venzer set Williford's bond at $1,500, but Miami-Dade Corrections records show she remained at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on Thursday night. 

 

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