Amazon contract worker, Lionel Childs, and his daughter in a photograph he posted on Facebook in October 2020. Photo courtesy of the Childs family.

The father arrested Monday after his 3-year-old daughter was found alone in his car while he worked at an Amazon fulfillment center may not face criminal child abuse charges, sources have told MLK50: Justice Through Journalism.

Sources said that the Shelby County District Attorney and social service agencies planned to work with Lionel Childs to get him the resources he needs, which could include child care assistance.

A Shelby County District Attorney spokesperson would not confirm the status of Childs’ case, but did say it has been reset for arraignment on March 16.

Memphis Police officers responded to a call Monday afternoon at the Amazon facility on Holmes Road after a worker spotted the child alone in a car in the facility’s parking lot, according to the police report. Childs told police that he didn’t have anyone to watch his child while he worked.

Childs, 30, was released from the Shelby County jail today and this afternoon was checking with his employer to see if he still had a job, his mother, Cordra Childs said. 

The outpouring of compassion from people near and far – including two GoFundMe campaigns –  has been a comfort during a very stressful time, she said.

“It’s just so heartwarming for people to reach out the way they’ve reached out to help my son,” said Cordra Childs, who had her granddaughter with her. She said the girl is fine. 

Childs’ Facebook page features more images of his daughter than it does of himself. His header image is a collage of photos of her smiling and last weekend he posted a video of the two babbling together while holding matching lollipops. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Childs did not work directly for Amazon, the company said, but for a third-party contractor.

In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson called the incident “incredibly disturbing.”

It “absolutely does not reflect the high standards we have for our contractors. We will assist local law enforcement as they continue to investigate,” said spokesperson Brittany Parmley.

In June, Amazon announced it would provide limited subsidized backup child care assistance for full and part-time employees, but the company told MLK50 that third-party contract workers are ineligible for that benefit.



This story is brought to you by MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a nonprofit newsroom focused on poverty, power and policy in Memphis. Support independent journalism by making a tax-deductible donation today. MLK50 is also supported by these generous donors.

Got a story idea, a tip or feedback? Send an email to mlk50@mlk50.com.