A grandfather was arrested in San Diego’s Chula Vista area overnight after he allegedly abandoned his 2-year-old grandson on a sidewalk for several hours while he went to a taco shop to eat a burrito.
According to the Chula Vista Police Department, a skateboarder spotted the abandoned toddler – fast asleep inside a jogging stroller – at around 11:30 p.m. in the 200-block of Quintard Street and called police.
When officers arrived on scene, they were unable to immediately locate the child’s parents and the boy was taken into protective custody while police launched an investigation.
Police said the little boy appeared healthy and showed no signs of abuse.
The Chula Vista Police Department issued an alert for the found toddler, described as a 2-foot-tall, 2-year-old boy weighing 25 pounds. He was wearing a jacket, sweatpants and shoes when police found him.
At around 2:45 a.m., police said the boy’s 17-year-old mother called authorities looking for her child.
Police said she was hysterical and told officials her son’s grandfather had taken the toddler out at 10 p.m. to get a burrito. At 1 a.m. the family went looking for the child and found the grandfather sitting at a local taco shop, eating a burrito.
Police said the grandfather – identified as 53-year-old Frank Moreno – told his family he didn’t know where the boy was and allegedly appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance.
Chula Vista police officers took Moreno into custody on charges of child cruelty with the possibility of resulting in injury or death and being under the influence of drugs. He was booked into San Diego Central Jail and is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.
NBC 7 San Diego spoke to some Chula Vista residents on Saturday about the incident. All were shocked that the boy would be left behind, unattended.
“That’s horrible,” said one Chula Vista man. “I have granddaughters and a lot of children – I’m a grandfather – so I hate to hear anything about children.”
Another witness said he woke up around midnight to sounds of police outside his home. When he looked out the window, he saw officers tending to the toddler found on Quintard Street, asking the child if he knew where his mother was.
“It was too cold – I was really worried about the child, but the police took good care of the kid,” said the Chula Vista resident. “I feel really bad – I hope the [grandpa] gets punished. He should’ve taken care of the kid.”