Friday, August 5, 2011

Child Outdoors Alone Triggers State and Federal Investigations (Norwalk, CT Patch)

Child Outdoors Alone Triggers State and Federal Investigations
By Harold F. Cobin
8.5.2011 7:59pm

A toddler found wandering alone on First Street Thursday morning resulted in her father being arrested and investigations being initiated by the state’s Dept. of Children and Families and federal immigration officials.

According to Norwalk Police spokeswoman Sgt. Lisa Cotto, a First Street resident contacted police at 9:31 a.m. reporting one of his neighors’ children was outside without supervision. When police arrived, they found the 1 1/2-year-old girl near her home at 25 First St. with another child inside in a crib.

Officers reported that about five minutes later, the children’s father, Jose Gaitan, arrived.

Gaitan allegedly told the officers his wife was in Norwalk Hospital after giving birth Wednesday night, and he’d gone to get a muffin to feed his daughter breakfast. Gaitan is said to have told them there were no family members in the area to watch the children while he went to the store.

The officers located a babysitter for the children, then took Gaitan, 27, to police headquarters, where he was charged with risk of injury to a minor.

His problems were only beginning, however, after police spoke with his wife. According to Cotto, she told them she’s afraid he will take their children to El Salvador.

The officers also allegedly found Gaitan identified himself by a different name than what appeared on the identification he provided them. The officers reported Gaitan told them he did that because he wasn’t sure, but he may be in the process of being deported from the United States.

The officers contacted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Dept. of Children and Families.

Gaitan was held in lieu of posting $100,000 bond and given a court date of August 12.

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