Police say Cary mom locked her son out in the cold while she went to a Christmas party

Susan Sherri Dowless
Susan Sherri Dowless

Police in Cary say a 43-year-old woman locked her 10-year-old son out of their home and went to a party on Christmas Day. The child was outside for close to five hours in near freezing temperatures before the woman returned.

Susan Dowless, 43, of 223 Pony Club Circle in Cary has been charged with one count of misdemeanor child abuse, according to an arrest warrant filed this week at the Wake County Magistrate’s Office.

Dowless was taken into custody Wednesday at about 10:15 a.m. from a home in Southwest Raleigh, according to records filed with the City County Bureau of Identification. She is in custody in lieu of a $5,000 bail.

Investigators have accused Dowless of “locking the child outside of the residence when the temperature was below 40 degrees for several hours,” according to the arrest warrant.

Police say Dowless failed to provide the child with adequate clothing in the cold weather. Nor did she provide her child with proper nourishment or supervision, while traveling with other family members outside the area to attend a dinner party, according to the arrest warrant.

A neighbor called the police to report the child was outside, according to an email from Lt. Brian Smith of the Cary Police. Smith said Dowling was gone from 1 to 5:45 p.m.

Temperatures hovered around 38 degrees during that time period, according to the National Weather Service.

The boy suffered no ill effects from the exposure and is now with other family members, Smith said. Dowless has been ordered to have no contact with the child, court records show.

At 10:49 a.m., about two hours before police said Dowless deliberately locked the boy outdoors, she posted on Facebook a picture of herself surrounded by her three sons.

“From my family to yours,” she wrote. “Merry Christmas to everyone...hope yall have a wonderful day and a blessed day!!!”

Thomasi McDonald: 919-829-4533, @thomcdonald