Elaine Overton

Booking photo of Elaine Overton (Chicago police / January 4, 2013)

Bail was set today for a 48-year-old South Side woman accused of leaving her 3-year-old granddaughter on a CTA bus for 30 minutes this week in the South Loop.

Police said Elaine Carla Overton of the 3600 block of South Rhodes Avenue was charged with misdemeanor child endangerment and one count of felony possession of a controlled substance after heroin was found in her pocket.
 
Overton was ordered held in lieu of $25,000 bail by Circuit Court Judge Donald Panarese, prosecutors said. She has a Jan. 23 court date, officials said.
 
The child was not hurt in the incident, which ended about 7:35 p.m. Wednesday in the 900 block of South State Street after someone aboard the bus saw the toddler by herself, sleeping on a seat, according to a police report.

The person watched her for about nine blocks and told the driver, who called police, according to the police report.
 
Authorities learned Overton had gotten off the bus with another female about 7 p.m., leaving the girl aboard it without telling anyone, according to the report.
 
Police and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services were called and the toddler was taken to the Central District headquarters at 1718 S. State St. as authorities went to the child’s mother’s home in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

An aunt was found who told police the child’s mother was at Overton’s home on Rhodes searching for her daughter.
 
They finally found Overton, and in a pocket of her jeans police found a small clear bag containing a white powdery substance suspected to be heroin, according to the report. She was arrested several hours later at 11 p.m. Wednesday at the Central District police station.

The child’s mother told the Tribune she was relieved that her daughter was not injured but said she thought her mother showed “poor judgment.’’

“I’m a little upset but I’m glad she is OK,’’ said the 28-year-old South Side woman, who works for McDonald’s.

When Overton and the toddler left her home about 6:30 p.m., the mother said, they were supposed to have been going to visit her sister, who lives about 10 blocks away with Overton.

When she called to check on them about 9 p.m., her sister told her they were not there and she became worried.

“I was just freaking out,’’ she said.

She said began frantically knocking on the doors of neighbors, thinking maybe they were visiting.

“I looked everywhere,’’ she said.

Police contacted her and told her they had her daughter and mother at the station, and she went to see them. The woman learned her daughter was not hurt.

“She was having fun in there drawing pictures, running around, before she started telling us what happened,’’ she said.

She said her mother began crying, told her she was sorry, and said she didn’t know how it could have happened.

Mother and daughter were doing fine at home Friday but the woman said she will look elsewhere the next time she needs a babysitter.

The 28-year-old confessed she is curious and would like to find out who helped her daughter Wednesday on the bus.

“I’m thankful for the person who turned my baby into the police station,’’ she said. "Anything could have happened.’’

DCFS spokesman Dave Clarkin said the agency is investigating an allegation of neglect for inadequate supervision, and they have had no prior contact with the family. He released no other information.

rsobol@tribune.com
Twitter: @RosemarySobol1