Charges reduced against parents accused of leaving child at park

Shannon Grose and Teresa Menefee

Shannon Grose and Teresa Menefee

NORCROSS -- Charges have been reduced against a Norcross couple accused of leaving their 2-year-old daughter unattended at a park for upward of three hours last weekend.

Father Shannon Grose, 31, and mother Teresa Menefee, 29, were arrested by Norcross Police last Saturday when officials said they finally showed up at Thrasher Park about 7:50 p.m., several hours after their toddler was noticed to be alone on a swing set.

Both parents were originally booked on first-degree cruelty to children charges, but during a first appearance hearing Thursday charges were reduced to second-degree child cruelty.

First-degree child cruelty, which involves "maliciously" causing a child physical or mental pain, carries a sentence of five to 20 years in prison if convicted, according to Georgia law.

The second-degree charge Grose and Menefee now face involves "criminal negligence" that leads to a child's physical or mental pain. Sentences range between one and 10 years if convicted.

Other concerned parents at the park last weekend contacted police after they noticed the 2-year-old named Asia had been unattended for almost 30 minutes.

"(The child) told me her dad had left her at the park and did not come back," the responding officer wrote in her report. "She began to cry and said she wanted to go home."

After the parents appeared, Grose reportedly became "very aggressive," and Menefee was determined to have a warrant out for her arrest on larceny charges. Both were intoxicated and "insisted they had been at the park the entire time," police reports said.

Asia was ultimately taken into the custody of child services.

Gwinnett County Jail records show Grose was released Thursday on $11,200 bond, while Menefee is being held for violating probation.