An father from Arizona was taken into police custody after leaving his 10-year-old daughter alone in the Mojave Desert without shoes or water last weekend, reported NBC News 3 Las Vegas.
Christopher Charles Watson, 28, was arrested Saturday on one felony count of domestic child abuse, according to Trish Carter of Arizona’s Mohave County Sheriff’s Office.
“It is fortunate this kid didn’t end up in the wrong hands of someone,” Carter told People. “There are many predators out there these days. Luckily we didn’t have a major, sad ending.”
The incident occurred around 9 a.m. Saturday when a woman called 911 after seeing the unidentified girl, dressed in pajamas, crying and walking barefoot on asphalt in the 91 degree heat.
The girl told investigators that her father drove her out to the desert that morning and left her after they got into a fight over a pen.
“She placed the pen in the driver’s seat, and he wanted it in a certain spot and apparently she didn’t put it in the correct spot,” Carter told People. “She said he got angry with her and he put her in the car and drove at a high rate of speed onto a dirt road into the desert.”
After Watson left, the girl said she walked for about 30 minutes before she came upon the woman who alerted authorities. The girl was transported to Kingman Regional Medical Center where she was treated and placed into the custody of Department of Child Safety.
Deputies responded to her family’s home and found Watson, who they say had an odor of alcohol.
Watson told authorities that he and his daughter were having an argument when he decided to take her for a ride to calm her down. Watson said he dragged his daughter from the front passenger seat across his lap and out of the truck.
Watson told deputies that he dropped his daughter off in the desert without any water or shoes. He said that he returned home and waited about 15 minutes before going back out for his daughter, but he was unable to find her.
“After looking for her for two hours, he went home and took a nap,” Carter told People. “And he hoped she would show up at home, and if not he would start calling for help.”
Watson was taken into custody without incident. The Department of Child Safety took custody of Watson’s 9-year-old son.