Police said one of two Raleigh women arrested for prostitution locked her child in her residence so she could solicit johns.
April Hitchcock, 39 of Garner Road, and Karen Lee Cooper, 44 of Mockingbird Lane, were both charged with soliciting the same Raleigh police officer Oct. 8 in the 1300 block of Garner Road, police said.
Court documents show Hitchcock was also charged with misdemeanor child abuse. Police said Hitchcock locked her child in their residence alone without the ability to escape in case of a fire or other emergency while she solicited the police officer.
Hitchcock and Cooper were transported to the Wake County Jail and held under $1,000 bond each.
Hitchcock's first court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 5 at 9 a.m. while Cooper is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 14 at 9 a.m.
Neighbors in that southeast Raleigh Neighborhood said the area is a hotbed for prostitution, but they were shocked to hear a child might have been involved in a recent case.
"I know sometimes you have to go and do things that you probably wouldn't do on a regular basis, unless you had to take care of your children," Mo'ezeah Armstrong said. "But I don't think under any means necessary that woman should have left her child alone at home by himself."
Another neighbor, Monique Kilpatrick, saw the arrests happen. She said it's long overdue.
"It's been people under my tree, like a woman and man doing, you know, whatever, under the tree out here close to the road," Kilpatrick said. "Some people have no respect for what they do."
Another neighbor said the women clearly need help.
"I feel sympathy for them because obviously they're out here for a purpose, you know?" Vanity Bell said. "They might have kids they have to support."
Michelle Kaufman teaches a class on sex trafficking at North Carolina State University. She believes untreated mental illness and addiction issues often lead women to a life of prostitution.
"So, I think a lot of times it starts as a way to make ends meet," Kaufman said, "and then to deal with sort of the trauma behind the work, and the discomfort behind it, they turn to substances and it becomes a viscous cycle that they have to support."
Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms.More>>