ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A St. Johns County mother faces felony charges after authorities said she drugged her daughter and left the child home alone while she went to work an overnight shift.
Tracy Danielle Millican, 47, of St. Augustine, was booked Tuesday night on charges of child neglect and cruelty toward a child, according to St. Johns County jail records.
Deputies began investigating Millican Tuesday morning after receiving an anonymous tip. The tipster accused Millican of leaving her child home alone at night while she worked at Home Depot.
Confronted at her place of work, Millican acknowledged that she left her daughter unsupervised at home during her overnight shifts throughout the week, according to the report. Deputies said they learned Millican gave her daughter Benadryl nightly before she left for work.
The child told deputies she did not know how to reach her mother in case of an emergency. She said a babysitter looked after her while her mother was working, but conceded that she had never met or seen the babysitter, the report said.
The girl’s age was removed from the report, but detectives said she was not old enough to be left alone. They also said the child did not know how to contact her mother in case of an emergency.
"If parents are concerned about their children possibly being unaccompanied, they need to make arrangements," said John Harrell, spokesman for the Department of Children and Families. "They’re responsible to do that by reaching out to family friends or find out about agencies that can provide assistance regarding child care.”
News4Jax did some digging around and found out Millican’s employer does offer its workers day care assistance through various organizations.
Court records show Millican was arrested in 2013 and charged with child neglect involving the same child. She avoided prosecution in that case by completing a year-long pre-trial intervention program.
Millican was released Thursday morning after posting $10,000 bond, jail records show.
According to the Department of Children and Families, the child was placed in the custody of a relative. DCF also confirmed it will be arranging a medical check of the child.
Harrell also warned no parent should ever use Benadryl to sedate a child.
“We strongly recommend parents not give their children medication in order to put them to sleep other than what’s prescribed and other than what’s allowable by regulations," he said. "It’s putting children at risk.”
Those risks could affect a child’s memory and ability to learn if taken over a long period of time.