Woman facing neglect of a dependent charge in Elkhart County
At around 9 a.m. on September 20, a corporal with the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 28000 block of Broad St. in Elkhart after a witness reported seeing a two-year-old male outside the residence climbing over a chain-link fence without any adult supervision, the affidavit said.
When the corporal arrived at the scene and spoke to two witnesses, the witnesses both reported multiple incidents of the two-year-old lacking adult supervision as well as a five-year-old and a six-year-old who are often left unsupervised, according to court documents.
One witness reported that the two-year-old walked out of his grandmother’s residence on Broad Street unsupervised at around 8:20 a.m., climbed over the chain-link fence, and walked across Broad Street to the front door of another residence on Broad Street.
That same witness then said an unknown person opened the front door, let the two-year-old into the residence, and then reported seeing a truck leaving that residence 15 minutes before the corporal arrived, according to court documents.
The corporal tried to make contact with someone inside the child’s grandmother’s residence by knocking and announcing, “Sheriff’s Office” multiple times from approximately 9:16 to 9:40 a.m.
During that time, the corporal was able to see the two-year-old through a window next to the front door.
A sergeant with the Sheriff’s Office was able to gain entry through an unlocked back door of the residence.
He told the corporal that a large pair of hedge shears were wedged into the door, preventing it from being opened, according to court documents.
Once inside the residence, the sergeant and corporal tried to make contact with any adults.
A female was found in a child’s bedroom asleep and difficult to awake.
The female, who initially provided a false name but was eventually identified, reported not knowing the two-year-old was in the residence, according to the affidavit.
The female was asking where “Tiffany” was and could not provide the corporal with the name of the two-year-old.
While inside the residence, the corporal saw a large amount of animal feces in a bedroom with a crib, court documents said.
Additionally, the home was in disarray and had garbage strewn throughout.
The sergeant observed the two-year-old holding the blade and handle of a folding knife in his hands.
Tiffany Phillips was contacted via telephone and asked to return home.
Once Phillips returned home, she was advised of Miranda and stated that she left the residence at around 9 a.m. to return a truck to a friend and had left the two-year-old in the care of a male subject.
Phillips was unable to provide the corporal the last name of the male subject nor the last name of the female found in the residence.
There were no other people inside the residence besides that female.
Phillips also said that the two-year-old had been inside of the residence all morning.
DCS removed the children from the residence and Phillips was incarcerated.
UPDATE: In April 2022, Phillips pleaded guilty to neglect of a dependent as part of a plea agreement. She was sentenced to one year in county jail with one year suspended. She was also sentenced to one year of probation.