LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A mother was charged after she and her three children were reported missing early Wednesday morning in Laurens County.
According to the Lauren County Sheriff’s Office, Leslie Heather Burns and her three children were last seen between 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. at their home on Fairview Road near the Hickory Tavern community.
After more than 12 hours of searching, investigators found Burns and her children, ages 5-months, 2-years, and 4-years-old, in the woods on Wednesday.
“That’s wonderful. We’ve been worried all day and we’ve been saying prayers,” said neighbor Nicole Frye, after Burns and her children were located.
Throughout the day on Wednesday, search teams with the Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division used K-9s and helicopters to canvass the area. Burns and her children were found safe shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s office.
Burns was arrested and charged with three counts of unlawfully placing a child at risk. On Thursday, Burns stood before a judge virtually and a victim advocated talked about how the children were found.
“The 5-month-old child did not have anything on,” said the advocate. “The children had cuts and abrasions from going through the woods. We had a lot of man hours, a lot of resources out looking for these children and Ms. Burns.”
During the bond hearing, Burns was given a $60,000 bond and was told she is not allowed to have unsupervised contact with her children.
She is currently being held in the Laurens County Detention Center.