UPDATED at 6:47 p.m. with further explanation from prosecuting attorney
ST. LOUIS COUNTY • Criminal charges were refused for an Indianapolis woman who police say left her 9-year-old son alone in a Fenton hotel room Sunday night until police found him Monday morning.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney spokesman Edward Magee said in an e-mail that Denise Cooke, 29, was being released from custody and that warrants were refused "as nothing she did fit the state statute."
Police arrested Cooke on Monday on suspicion of child endangerment, saying she went to get drinks at a bar and ended up leaving her son by himself from about 11 p.m. Sunday to 8 a.m. Monday, when he was found by officers.
St. Louis County Police started searching for her after employees at a business near the Stratford Inn found her clothes and purse. Police linked the items to the hotel and checked her room, where they found her son.
Cooke told authorities she went out for a few drinks but didn't mean to leave her son alone for such a long time, police said.
They said the boy hadn't eaten for 24 hours, so they fed him. Authorities said the woman didn't turn up again until about 1 p.m.
Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch explained today that the law requires that injury to a child has to be "practically certain" in order to charge the adult with endangerment.
"In this situation, although a lot of things, I suppose, could have gone wrong, there wasn't anything that was practically certain in the legal sense that was going to cause injury to the child."