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Mother of toddlers found wandering 9th Avenue faces judge

Mother of toddlers found wandering 9th Avenue faces judge

The Pensacola woman charged with child neglect and resisting arrest after her children were found wandering down 9th Avenue stood before a judge Thursday.

Ann Margaret Perry's first appearance in court only lasted a few moments. Judge Gary Bergosh set a docket date for April 25 and a trial start date of May 7. Channel 3 News will follow Perry's journey in court, but the bigger question is - are her children safe?

November 27 is a day Marqueta Mason won't forget.

"I just feel like I was their angel for that day," said Mason.

A mother herself, Mason says her heart broke when she found the two and three-year-old children wandering alone down 9th Avenue.

"They had dirt around their faces and a dirty diaper," said Mason. "The little girl didn't have on any clothes, the baby had on a dirty shirt."

Before calling 911, Mason knocked on a few doors trying to figure out which house the toddlers came from. Now, she says glad she didn't find the children's mother, Ann Margaret Perry, that day.

"I probably couldn't live with myself if I would have handed those kids back off to her at that particular time," said Mason. "Because she needed some help."

Since she rescued the toddlers, Mason hasn't stopped thinking about them. She even bought them Christmas presents and delivered them to the Gulf Coast Kid's House, where the children were taken after the incident.

"I bought clothing for the boy and the little girl," said Mason. "Toys, underwear, you know, personal items that I thought they probably would need."

Both toddlers are now in the care of one of Perry's relatives. Off-camera, Perry told Channel 3 News she has visitation rights and is working with the Florida Department of Children and Families to begin the reunification process.

Mason, a corrections officer who works to help convicted criminals ease back into society, just hopes parry gets the help she needs before she regains custody.

"There is help out here, assistance. There are so many agencies that help people like her, provide food, clothing," said Mason. "She just needs to get herself together first, because at the end of the day, they are the ones who are going to suffer."

Perry is charged with resisting arrest and two counts of child neglect. She and her family will be back in court January 4 to begin the reunification process with the DCF.

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