Mom pleads guilty to leaving son on boat

A Louisville mother pleaded guilty to charges that she left her 6-year-old son alone on an unsecured boat on Berlin Lake for more than one hour last month.

Erika Blakely, 31, of Gephart Avenue, pleaded guilty to child endangering Thursday in Mahoning County Sebring Area Court. She was sentenced to one year of probation and a $250 fine.

Reports said a couple on a nearby boat in the Berlin Campgrounds told police they found the boy wet and shivering because he was wearing only a swimsuit and yelling “somebody help me,” according to a statement by the witness.

Witnesses said they saw Blakely’s boat pull in behind their Maplewood campsite at about 11 p.m. June 20. They said they heard the boy screaming for help at about 11:30 p.m. and called 911.

Reports said the boy had “no idea” where his parents were. Mahoning County Sheriff’s deputies placed a blanket around the boy and let him warm up inside their cruiser. At about midnight, deputies reported having to pull the boat back onto shore because it was left unsecured.

At about 12:05 a.m. June 21, reports said, Blakely came back to the boat and told deputies she had been away from the boat for about 10 minutes.

The boy was placed into his grandmother’s custody, then his father’s, while they booked Blakely into the Mahoning County Jail, where she posted bond.

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