Mother charged after son with autism found wandering

Jessica Willey Image
Saturday, July 2, 2016
Mother charged after son with autism found wandering in busy road
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A mom defends herself after her son with autism is found wandering a busy parkway.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A mother charged with endangering a child after her son with autism was found wandering is defending herself.

Emilia Aguilar, 41, faces a felony charge of child endangerment. On Saturday, June 25, a neighbor found her 5-year-old son, Gavin, almost a mile from their home walking on a sidewalk towards Fairmont Parkway, a busy 4-lane road. It was the third time in a year La Porte police had responded to Gavin wandering away. The previous two charges were dismissed.

This one, so far, has stuck.

"I'm not a bad mom. I'm not a bad mom, at all," Aguilar, a single mother of five children, said in her own defense.

It was mid-morning when police knocked on her door. She admits she was asleep but only after she had been up much earlier with the boy. Aguilar says despite his autism, Gavin is smart and independent. That day, he was taken to Child Protective Services.

"It's exhausting, but it's my job and it's okay. But to be ridiculed like I have been, being made to feel I don't care about my kid, is wrong. Nobody knows unless you're in my shoes," Aguilar said.

Aguilar was required by CPS to install locks on not only the house doors but also garage doors. She even put one on her bedroom door. She says it's a condition for Gavin to stay.

Police are alarmed by how often they've been called. As she faces the felony, she says this time will be the last.

"I can't change it. I can only learn from it. I care about my son like nobody else."

Aguilar was charged two days after the incident. She hasn't been arrested. She planned to turn herself in Friday night and post bond.