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Woman accused of abandoning toddler outside Woodbury building sentenced

A woman accused of leaving her toddler unattended in an unlit grassy Woodbury property while she walked away barefoot was sentenced last week to probation.

Fatu Aunty Ville, 26, was charged in September 2010 with one count of child neglect and one count of child endangerment. She pleaded guilty April 18 to misdemeanor child neglect and was sentenced at the same hearing.

The Chicago woman's sentence calls for one year on probation and a $235 fine. A three-month jail term was waived as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Charges stemmed from a Sept. 19, 2010, incident where Woodbury police were called to a residence in the 6900 block of Collingwood Lane for reports of an argument.

Officers arrived at the scene, where Ville's mother said Ville had become upset and left. Ville was carrying a suitcase and her child, who was 2 years old at the time of the incident.

Family members expressed concern that Ville had been drinking and that her daughter wasn't dressed warm enough for the weather - 53 degrees at the time.

According to a criminal complaint, police caught up with Ville walking between buildings on Collingwood Lane after a 20-minute search. Police said she was barefoot and without her daughter or the suitcase.

When asked where the child was, Ville first told officers the toddler was two miles away "at a friend's house." She claimed she was on her way back to get her shoes.

The complaint states her story changed again when she admitted the child was actually sleeping behind a building.

Ville led police to the location - the Le Claire Building, in the 6700 block of Upper Afton Road.

The child was found lying in the grass on an unlit area. She had been covered with a sweatshirt. Ville's clothing and suitcase were reportedly strewn about the area.

The baby was turned over to her grandmother.

Ville, who was arrested and jailed, later told police she left the party after having been "disrespected" and engaged in an argument with family members.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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