Mother pleads guilty to misdemeanors after child found at Floatopia event covered in sand

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A mother accused of getting of drunk during a beach festival and leaving her children unsupervised pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors during an appearance in Virginia Beach Court Tuesday.

One of her children was found overheated and dehydrated last year during “Floatopia.”

Shelby Oliver was originally charged with two felonies: reckless care of a child and child abuse neglect.

On Tuesday, she pleaded guilty to two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one count of being drunk in public.

A spokeswoman for the commonwealth’s attorney’s office said the charges were amended to misdemeanors because the level of injury to the children was “insufficient to prove felony child neglect.”

In Tuesday’s court hearing, Oliver’s attorney said that she is taking ownership of her actions.

“She’s very happy to have taken responsibility for what she should have taken responsibility for,” attorney Robert Morecock said.

According to police, Oliver approached an officer during the “Floatopia” event and said that one of her children was kidnapped. She had a 7-year-old and an infant with her.

However, police later found one of the children overheated, dehydrated and covered in sand.

Her attorney says she should not have been on Chic’s Beach and she’s learned from her mistakes.

“She was a mess, and she’s not a mess, that’s not who she is,” said Morecock. “She works and she has two beautiful children and she suffered postpartum depression as a result of the birth of both of her children. She’s worked through that, she’s in therapy and she’s back working and she’s just a lovely person.”

“Looking back, I’m sorry it was blown out of proportion,” said Morecock. “It’s a cautionary tale for all of us.”

Oliver was sentenced to 24 months in jail with 22 suspended. That leaves two months to serve, but she will get credit for the time she’s already served.

She is being allowed to serve the remaining time on weekends starting Feb. 21.


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