Parents of toddler found wandering alone, appear in court

By Chuck Weber email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX)-A three-year old boy, found wandering the streets of West Palm Beach, will stay in state custody at least until Tuesday afternoon.

Jamal Armstrong is the autistic toddler found alone near Dunbar Village Sunday morning. A Good Samaritan driver discovered the child and called police. Some nine hours later after the boy's picture appeared on the news, his father called police.

Monday morning Jamal's parents, Tammy Griffin and James Armstrong, appeared at an emergency court hearing. Judge Ted Booras allowed the parents supervised visits with their son, for now. He delayed until Tuesday afternoon a hearing to determine if the boy can go back home.

The parents declined comment leaving court. Armstrong, the father, had told police he and Griffin each thought the other had the boy.

West Palm Beach Police detective Jennifer Favors said after the hearing, she was still investigating. "It just appears to be a mistake with the family," said Favors. "Nothing intentional. But it's still ongoing, so we're unsure at this point."

The hearing Tuesday is what's called a shelter hearing, which is held after an incident calls into question, the ability of parents to care for their kids.

Lakesha Prichard, one of the neighbors who joined police going door to door, to find the child's parents, said the couple should be held accountable. "I think this should be investigated very carefully," said Prichard. "At that time, he was not being properly cared for, and I think the parents should be punished for that." The parents do not face criminal charges.