Man accused of abandoning boy, 3, arrested

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

July 26, 2007 -  A 23-year-old man accused of leaving his 3-year-old son at their apartment unsupervised June 28, was apprehended late last night. The child was found wandering down Bill Bradford Road just before noon that day, and released to his mother later in the day.

Jesus Abel Garcia Valenzuela, 23, of Sulphur Springs remained in Hopkins County jail just before noon Thursday on the abandoning or injury to a child charge, a state jail felony offense.

Officers became involved in the case at 11:25 a.m. Thursday, June 28, after Valenzuela's child was found wandering down Bill Bradford Road around lunch time.

Two motorists, seeing the child nearing the Gilmer Street intersection, stopped and asked him where he lived.

The preschooler pointed toward an apartment on Bill Bradford Road. They took him to the apartment and stayed with him until police arrived.

Finding no adult to take charge of the 3-year-old, police began questioning neighbors if they knew where the parents were or how to reach them. They learned the boy’s mother was thought to be employed at a Gilmer Street restaurant.

They contacted the restaurant, and the mother returned home. According to reports, she was perplexed as to why the child was alone. She said her son had been left in the care of his father Thursday morning, but wasn't sure where her husband had gone or why he left the child alone.

Child Protective Services personnel were contacted. The CPS investigator allowed the child to remain in his mother’s care, but said the agency would be conducting an investigation.

Police filed a complaint against Valenzuela for abandoning the child and obtained a warrant for his arrest.

Deputies received information Wednesday night that the man had returned to the Bill Bradford Road residence, and Hopkins County Sheriff's Cpl. Eddie Moon, Sgt. Todd Evans and deputy Aaron Hanna went to the location.

When the deputies knocked on the door around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, someone turned off the television and lights inside. Deputies continued to knock at the door until a woman answered, revealing Valenzuela inside, standing in front of a bed.

Valenzuela was arraigned Thursday morning, with bond set at $5,000.

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