East TN woman sentenced in second neglect case involving disabled toddler

Published 2:11 pm Friday, February 3, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
Autumn Culver Samen pled no contest in a case in which she left her developmentally delayed toddler alone in a car outside a bar, soaking wet and soiled
WASHINGTON COUNTY — On January 31, Autumn Culver Samen was sentenced to 11 months,  29 days in jail, suspended, and a year supervised probation after pleading no contest to a reduced charge of misdemeanor child endangerment. Samen was originally charged with felony child neglect.
According to police reports and witness statements, on July 31, 2022, Samen left the child alone in an unlocked vehicle while she visited Wonderland Lounge and Grill in Johnson City. Witnesses state the child was unattended for nearly an hour that night; when police arrived on the scene, they discovered the child asleep, hidden under a pillow, in soiled and soaking wet clothing. Samen was then arrested and the child was taken into state custody. Samen claimed to be homeless and falsely stated that the child had no other family to care for her.
This was Samen’s second arrest for neglect and endangerment in 2022. Around 5 a.m. on June 11, the child was discovered “completely nude,” according to police reports, outside the Domino’s Pizza on Main St. in Erwin, roughly a tenth of a mile from Samen’s home at 109 Gay St. Police recognized the child from an incident the week before, when the child was found alone outside the Union Street Taproom and returned to Samen. On June 11, officers again returned the child to Samen. Upon waking Samen and summoning her to the door of her upstairs apartment, officers observed her to be intoxicated. They contacted DCS after Samen stated that she was proud of the child for being brave and going on an adventure alone.
Samen was jailed and charged with child endangerment and the child was taken into foster care at that time, but the child was returned to Samen shortly thereafter, with charges still pending.
Samen’s sentence in the Washington County case is the same as the sentence she received in the Unicoi County case.
The child is reportedly now with family and is doing well.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox