OKEECHOBEE — An unattended 3-year-old child, who only wanted to see his father, was kept from walking onto a busy South Parrott Avenue by a Center State Bank employee.
The boy, stated a police arrest report, “… pointed to Walmart and said his daddy was there and he was going there.”
A 20 year-old Okeechobee man, who was supposed to be watching the child, was found asleep in his home Thursday morning, Aug. 13.
Jack Daniel Congdon, S.W. Second Ave., was arrested on one felony count of child neglect. He was booked into the Okeechobee County Jail then released on his own recognizance.
An arrest report by Sergeant Belen Reyna, of the Okeechobee City Police Department (OCPD), said the child was first seen around 9 a.m. by a dumpster on the property of Center State Bank, 2100 S. Parrott Ave.
A bank employee, Jamie Brammeier, left the bank and walked over to the child. Mrs. Brammeier then took the little boy inside the bank and called police.
She reportedly told Sgt. Reyna a customer at the bank’s drive through told them about the child.
The child, continued the report, was only 327 feet from walking onto the busy four-lane street.
Sgt. Reyna indicated he began to canvass the area in an effort to find the child’s parents. He stated he came upon a home on S.W. Second Avenue and noticed the front door was open.
The officer yelled through the open door to identify himself and to see if anyone was in the home. Finally, he stated, a man responded to the officer’s calls. That man, later identified as Congdon, was asleep.
When Sgt. Reyna asked if anyone in the home was supposed to be watching the child, Congdon reportedly said he was. Congdon apparently told the officer the child was supposed to be asleep on the couch, and that his mother had left the home around 6:30 to 7 a.m.
Congdon then told the officer he went to sleep around 5 a.m. and that the child’s mother normally locks the front door when she leaves, added Sgt. Reyna.
According to Sgt. Reyna’s report, the child’s father does work at Walmart but had left the child with his mother and Congdon while he went to Orlando.
When OCPD Detective Sergeant Bettye Taylor returned the child to the house, the little boy refused to go inside the home. The child told the detective he did not live there and he then pointed toward Walmart and said he wanted to see his daddy.
Sgt. Reyna said the child’s father has custody of the boy.
“The child was in immediate danger of being run over; (he was) unsupervised (and) walking the roads in a high-traffic area. The child appeared uncleaned with an odor about his body,” stated Sgt. Reyna. “The child was very thirsty and hungry and kept asking for something to drink.”
The officer then stated the outside temperature was about 90 degrees.
Sgt. Reyna went on to say the child’s father was contacted and responded to the police department.
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is involved in the case.
Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News