Maleighia Grace Shockey, daycare operator, charged with child neglect

Maleighia Shockey (Photo: Prince William County Police)

A Prince William County daycare operator has been charged with two counts of child neglect after two girls who were under her care wandered away unnoticed on Tuesday.

Police say that the two girls, aged 1 and 3, were under the supervision of 23-year-old Maleighia Grace Shockey at her residence in the 16000 block of Fairway Drive in Montclair, where she ran a daycare center.

Friends and clients are defending the woman. Shockey cares for Kenny Barton's 1-year-old son. He says she told him her roommate left a door open and that must be how the kids slipped out.

“Should she have gone up behind the person and made sure the door is locked? Yes,” he said. “Do I think it's a little over the top? Yes.” He said he still feels comfortable leaving his children with Shockey.

Ages 1 and 3 definitely need to be supervised at all times, and the fact they wandered away, and didn't realize they were missing definitely constitutes felony child neglect charges,” said Officer Jonathan Perok of the Prince William County Police.

Police were called around 10:45 Tuesday morning after a passer-by found the girls walking near a busy street about a block from a lake. Investigators believe the kids had been wandering for about an hour.

“They had police in cars, they had police on foot, and they were just going door to door looking for the parents or the caretaker of the children,” said neighbor Dough Hofmeister. Family members eventually came and picked up the children.

“You have a business like that, you have other people's kids, you have to vigilant at all times. That's unacceptable,” said neighbor Neils Dunn.

Shockey was released on $2,500 bond.

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