Mansfield police said the girl, Ameleah Kegley, called 911 Monday evening and said she had not seen her mother since arriving home from school and she initially claimed she did not know how the vehicle ended up in an a neighbor's yard, the Mansfield News Journal reported Wednesday.
Police said they eventually determined the girl had attempted to take the vehicle out to find her mother, but the ignition was not completely on when she shifted the Lincoln into reverse, so it rolled backward into a neighbor's yard.
Officers said they found Ameleah's mother, Christina Hunter, 31, had been taken from her home in an ambulance earlier in the day to be treated for an undisclosed ailment. Hunter said she had asked for the girl's father, Aaron Kegley, 26, to watch over her when she got out of school, but Kegley said he never received the message.
Richland County Children Services is investigating the incident.
"There was no one waiting for the child when she came home on the school bus Monday, according to a police report," Children Services spokesman Carl Hunnell said. "It's not clear who was supposed to meet the child. Adults in the child's life differ on who was responsible to meet her."