Tot wanders from home while parents attend concert

A Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy found a young girl with two unleashed dogs standing in the middle of a rural road near Guerneville Sunday night, a sheriff’s sergeant said.

It was the second time the girl was found on narrow, rural Mays Canyon Road in west Sonoma County with a dog about a mile from her home, Sgt. Cecile Focha said. The deputy found the approximately 30-pound girl with the dogs around 8:30 p.m., Focha said.

The girl was able to give her first name and the deputy put the girl in the back of his patrol car with one of the dogs, Focha said. The other dog became aggressive and ran away. The girl was wearing a short white dress with pink sandals. She had a scratch on her knee and was not dressed for the cool of the impending sundown, Focha said.

The deputy unsuccessfully tried to have the girl point to where she lives and he stopped at several residences to find her parents, Focha said.

A bystander who lives on Mays Canyon Road stopped but was not familiar with the girl, Focha said. Child Protective Services met the deputy and the girl at the sheriff’s office’s Guerneville substation, and a City Watch Alert about a found child was sent by robotic phone calls to citizens, Focha said.

An hour later, the girl’s mother woman called the sheriff’s dispatch center and said she was informed her daughter was missing.

When two deputies went to the woman’s house on Mays Canyon Road, they determined the girl’s house was approximately 0.8 miles from where she was found, Focha said.

At the girl’s home, the mother said she and the girl’s father left the girl with the father’s 18-year-old son while they attended a concert in Santa Rosa, Focha said. The girl’s mother and father both said the 18-year-old stepson called them and said he could not find the girl, Focha said.

The teen later said he couldn’t explain how or when the girl left the house, but he said he was playing on the computer and became distracted, Focha said.

Focha said in a news release:

“He did not appreciate the gravity of the situation and was sarcastic with the deputies. … Neither (parent) could explain why they thought the 18 year old was responsible enough to care for the child. … Both knew that he was incapable of such an obligation.”

The girl was taken into protective custody and taken to an emergency foster family by a Child Protective Services caseworker, Focha said. The case was referred to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office on whether the adults will be charged with child endangerment, Focha said.

Another couple that responded to the City Watch Alert Sunday informed the sheriff’s office they were driving on Mays Canyon Road in the past and saw the same girl with a dog about a mile from her home, Focha said. The couple was able to find the location of the girl’s home by following the dog, Focha said.