Prosecutors: Mother faces charges after 13-year-old runaway found in handcuffs

MILWAUKEE -- A 13-year-old girl ran away from home on a cold winter night with no coat and no shoes. Her neighbors didn't answer their doors, but others were there to help.

We're taught not to approach strangers, but strangers turned into guardian angels in this case.

"Discipline is one thing, but going overboard is another. It almost stabs you in the heart, because it makes me think of what I went through," said Shawn, a victim of abuse who recently moved to Milwaukee.

Police got a call from two people who found the 13-year-old girl in handcuffs. When they saw her, they offered to help. She told them her mother was trying to kill her.

According to police, the mother grew angry when the girl wouldn't get off the phone. Prosecutors said she threatened her daughter, "forcibly slamming her head onto the floor," and the girl "felt she was suffocating," as her mother grabbed her neck with both hands. Police said her mom grabbed a pair of handcuffs and "affixed them to her wrists," before the girl was able to escape moments later. She knocked on several doors before encountering the two people who helped lead her to safety.

"The fact that she was able to be supported by two strangers in our community says a lot about our community," said Reggie Moore with the Office of Violence Prevention.

The strangers told the girl to "hide behind their car" because they could see her mom looking for her. They then drove to a gas station and called 911.

"We hear time and time again of children in our community who experience abuse, who experience neglect and people sort of act like it's not their business. It's all of our business what's happening with children in our city," said Moore.

FOX6 News isn't identifying the suspect in order to protect the identity of the child. The defendant is out on bond, and faces four felony charges -- physical abuse of a child (intentional causation of bodily harm), one count of neglecting a child (consequence is bodily harm), strangulation and suffocation and false imprisonment.

She was ordered by the court to have no contact with her daughter.