Download: Mother faces jail time for allowing 4-year-old son to play outside alone

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A mother in Sacramento is facing a jail sentence for allegedly allowing her 4-year-old son to play by himself at a playground roughly 120 feet from their home.

KTXL reports that Sonya Hendren's son, Tomahawk, occasionally plays alone outside in their gated apartment complex. He checks in to tell his mother that he is OK.

One day, two neighbors spotted the boy at the playground alone for between 15 to 20 minutes. They reportedly told him to go home, but he didn't want to.

They called protective child services. Hendren was charged with child endangerment and neglect.

"I just thought she would get a warning, and then she wouldn't let him be out alone again," said one of the neighbors, Sonja Horrell.

Now, Hendren said that if her son isn't in her sight, she is in violation of court orders. She believes she is being criticized for her free-range parenting style and said she would never put her son in danger willfully.

Her attorney said she faces a maximum penalty of six months in jail and three months probation.

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