Two children were reportedly left behind in Mayflower while the rest of the Faulkner County Boys & Girls Club group went out to watch a movie on Tuesday.
The Mayflower Police Department was initially alerted of "two very young juvenile females at the city park" without anyone around to supervise them before locating the 7- and 9-year-old girls and learning the rest of their group had left the area, according to an incident report.
The responding officer began his investigation by searching the park for the children that were spotted in the area but was unable to find anyone around. The officer said he went over to the Mayflower Elementary School gym to see if the children may have wandered off from the Faulkner County Boys & Girls Club group, which meets at the school's gym.
"Upon my arrival, I entered the building and observed two juvenile girls sitting on the bleachers with what appeared to be no adults around," the responding officer wrote in his report. "I asked them where everyone was and they said that everyone else had [gone] to the movies. I then asked why they did not go and they said they were told there was not enough room on the bus for them and that they would have to stay behind."
After calling the group's supervisor, the officer learned there was a miscommunication leading the girls to believe they had to stay behind.
"I located a phone number for the Boys & Girls Club and called it but did not get an answer," the officer wrote in his report. "A few moments later, the group returned and I made contact with Ms. [Dominique] Vinson. She stated that the girls were in her line to get on the bus but were not riding with her ... [and] that she thought that they had got on one of the other buses before they left."
The young girls told police "one of the older kids told them that the buses were full and [they] could not go" on the trip so they stayed behind and went to the park.
The responding officer reportedly explained to the girls the importance of checking in with an adult after being told they could not take part in the movie trip and also questioned staff about why there was no system in place to make sure all children were accounted for.
"I told the girls that they should always ask an adult if something like this happens," the incident report reads in part. "I also spoke with Ms. Vinson and told her that if a proper head count had been done prior to leaving, then all of this could have been avoided. I also told her that if something had happened to the girls, not only would the club be responsible, but she and the other employees would be as well."
The Log Cabin Democrat reached out to Vinson, who is a site supervisor for the Faulkner County Boys & Girl's Club, on Thursday but she declined to comment on the matter.
A concerned relative of one of the children who were left behind said that while he's glad the two girls were not injured while they were left unattended, he is also troubled by how the incident was handled and that the girls were left behind to begin with.
"I know people make mistakes, but you don't make mistakes like this," he said, noting the situation could have been much worse if the children were left unattended on a hot bus.
Mayflower Police Chief Robert Alcon said he is thankful for the work officer Gene Chase put into searching for the girls, noting this scenario could have played out much differently, and that he was glad the girls were found safe.
Vinson told Chase on scene that she would work to better implement safety procedures in the future, according to the incident report.
"Ms. Vinson stated that she was going to get with the other employees and the kids and go over some safety protocols and procedures to prevent any other incidents from happening," Chase wrote in his report.
The Log Cabin also reached out to Liberty Parks, the Faulkner County Boys & Girls Club unit director, on Thursday. However, calls were not returned by press time.