ST. GEORGE — A 22-year-old man was arrested on a felony child abuse charge Thursday after allegedly leaving his 16-month-old son home alone while he ran to do an errand at a repair shop.
While on patrol in LaVerkin, an officer spotted a man driving on 100 East whom he thought was involved in a welfare check earlier in the day, according to a probable cause statement filed by the LaVerkin City Police Department in support of the arrest.
The man appeared to be “extremely nervous,” the arresting officer wrote in a sworn statement, noting that when the man saw the officer turn around, the man parked his car facing the wrong direction on the street and ran into a residence.
“I turned around at the top of the street and, when I drove by the residence, the male came out,” the officer wrote in the report. “I asked him why he ran into the house like that. He stated he needed to let the dogs in.”
The man identified himself as Levi B. Anderton and allegedly opened the door to his home for officers to follow him inside and see his four dogs, according to the statement.
“As he opened a door, he said his baby was asleep in there,” the officer stated. “I asked Levi who was watching the baby while he was gone and he stated he had the baby with him. He stated he got the baby out of the car and ran into the house with the baby in his arms.”
The officer told Anderton he could clearly see that he didn’t have a baby in his arms when he ran into the house, the report stated. Officers found there was no one else inside the home to care for the baby while Anderton was gone.
Anderton told police that the baby’s mother was at work and that he had left the baby home alone in the crib while he ran to a local car repair shop, according to the statement.
“He stated the baby can’t get out of the crib,” the officer wrote in the statement. “When asked if he thought leaving the baby home alone was a big deal, he stated he thought it was. He stated he has been arrested before for child abuse/neglect.”
The Division of Child and Family Services took custody of the baby, the report stated. Anderton was arrested and transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed an information in 5th District Court accusing Anderton of third-degree felony abuse or neglect of a disabled child due to the 16-month-old being unable to care for his own personal safety.
Anderton was found indigent by the court Friday during his initial appearance before 5th District Judge G. Michael Westfall.
He was released from police custody on his own recognizance and is scheduled to make his next court appearance Aug. 28.
According to Utah Court documents, Anderton was also arrested in August 2016 and later convicted on a class C misdemeanor count of child abuse.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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