Utica mother accused of leaving 5-year-old outside in freezing cold alone

<font size="2">Mahelia Manuel</font>

A Utica mother is accused of leaving her 5-year-old daughter outside in the freezing cold without a hat or mittens.

The little girl was found outside on Oxford Road in the Village of New Hartford without adult supervision on Wednesday.

25-year-old Mahelia Manuel, of Hillcrest Avenue, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.

New Hartford Police say a concerned citizen who was driving by saw the girl crying. The woman asked the girl if she needed help and then put the 5-year-old in her car to get warm. She then started knocking on doors at a nearby apartment house looking for the girl's parents. When she couldn't find anyone, the woman called police.

Police arrived and knocked on doors trying to find someone responsible for the child. When they couldn't find anyone, they took her to the police station. Police were eventually able to locate the girl's grandmother who picked her up.

Police have notified Child Protective Services.

The girl's mother was issued an appearance ticket. She is scheduled to appear in New Hartford Village Court on February 5.