Man charged after kids wander off

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 30, 2000

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / August 30, 2000

LAPLACE – A LaPlace man has been charged with neglect of family after his 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter were found wandering down Airline Highway near Jasper Lane at 5 o’clock in the morning.

According to Capt. Mike Tregre of the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’sOffice, deputies were flagged down by a motorist on Airline Highway early Sunday morning. The motorist had spotted and picked up two smallchildren walking down the side of the highway. The 4-year-old wasdressed only in his underwear, and the girl was nude.

The little boy told deputies where their mother’s house was located, and the children were taken home. While authorities were investigating theincident at the mother’s house, the father, Juan Diaz Jr., 31, 1941 JasperLane, LaPlace, called to tell the mother the children had disappeared.

According to Diaz, he was taking care of the children while the mother worked a 4 p.m. to midnight shift. Diaz said the mother was supposed tocome pick up the children after she got off work.

Diaz said his estranged wife never came to pick up the kids, and he drifted off to sleep around 4 a.m. waiting for her to show up.Tregre said, “The kids climbed out of the bed, opened the front door and took off.”The police went to Diaz’ house and arrested him, charging him with neglect of family. He was released on bond. No charges were filed againstthe mother.

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