A teacher’s assistant from California faces child endangerment charges after her 12-year-old daughter was found naked and rummaging through trash cans for food, officials said.
Police were called on Thursday after a local resident saw a girl walking in Temecula, south-east of Los Angeles, wearing no clothes and eating food out of trash cans.
Tracy Betts, 40, a teaching assistant at nearby Vail Elementary, was arrested at the school on suspicion of felony child endangerment.
A report in the Riverside Press-Enterprise named the resident who alerted police as Dominique Prado, who had been outside pulling weeds from the yard with her husband when she saw the girl rooting through a neighbor’s trash can.
The girl completely naked, without even shoes on her feet, and trying to cover herself with a car floor mat, the newspaper said.
Prado told the newspaper that the girl, who was holding a small piece of bread in her hands, ran around the corner and out of sight.
Prado called 911, and police searched the neighborhood. Prado and her husband found the girl in a BMW parked on their street just around the corner, the newspaper said.
A press release from Riverside Sheriff's office said the girl was taken into protective custody and received unspecified treatment at a hospital.
Jason Kandel, NBC Los Angeles and msnbc.com's Alastair Jamieson contributed to this report.