“Do you know where your children are?” a popular TV PSA used to ask every night at 10 p.m. If Detroit mom Stephanie Horton had been asked that question this past Wednesday, her answer would have been a terrified and frantic no.
After phoning the authorities to alert them that her 9-year-old son, Kemian Strawder, was missing, Horton spent a sleepless night, fearing the worst. The next day, she received a phone call that both put her mind at ease and added to her consternation: The police had located Kemian, and he was physically unharmed. However, he was in juvenile hall, having been arrested the day before for allegedly breaking into a home.
According to Detroit Fox affiliate WJBK, Kemian, a third-grader, had been expelled from school earlier in the week. When Horton left for work around 9 a.m. Wednesday, the child was at home. When she returned from work, he was gone.
“I said how could I not be notified until 24 hours later?” an incredulous Horton rhetorically asked reporters, adding, “No explanation, no information, no anything.” Police claim in their defense that Kemian didn’t have his mother’s number so they were unable to reach her by phone. They submit that they did visit her home but that no one was there at time.
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Horton says she is concerned about her son, who has been in trouble before. She is especially upset with the company he is keeping:
There are some older guys who come and take him and he does what they tell him to do. We have been having a problem with that, coinciding with an officer trying to keep them away from here, but to no avail.
According to the police, at the time of his arrest, the 9-year-old was in the company of teenager, who was also taken into custody.
Late Thursday afternoon Horton learned the prosecutor had dropped the case. Whether that is for the best is at least partly up to Kemian.