Grand Forks woman charged with child abandonment, child neglect after leaving child along I-29 in Walsh County

Ashley Marie Johnson | Photo Courtesy: Bottineau County Sheriff's Office
Ashley Marie Johnson | Photo Courtesy: Bottineau County Sheriff's Office

(Walsh County,  ND) – A 37-year-old Grand Forks woman is facing child neglect and abandonment charges after leaving her four-year-old child on the side of I-29 in Walsh County on Tuesday.

According to court documents, Walsh County Dispatch received a call from a passerby stating there was a young child in a black and white spotted cow one piece on the side of I-29 near the 63rd Street overpass in Walsh County. The child stated that her mother had dropped her off.

When authorities arrived, the child could not give any specific details about their parents.

As the deputy was en route to the Walsh County Law Enforcement Center to meet with the Northeast Human Service Zone, troopers were attempting to confirm there weren’t any vehicles or persons in distress in the area when 37-year-old Ashley Marie Johnson arrived on scene. She advised the trooper she stopped on the side of the roadway to smoke a cigarette and another child in the vehicle unbuckled the young child.

Just after 4:30 p.m., a citizen called Grafton Police to state a relative “had messed up and left their child on the interstate.”

Johnson later admitted to knowingly leaving the child on the interstate.

She has been charged with two Class C felony charges – abandonment of a child and neglect of a child; and a Class A misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment.