A 28-year-old Ottawa man has been arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and two young children have been taken into protective custody after a 2-year-old boy was found wandering an Ottawa street shortly after 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
An Ottawa resident, who found the 2-year-old boy at the intersection of East Fifth and South Mulberry streets, called 911 and stayed with the child until police arrived on the scene, Capt. Adam Weingartner, with the Ottawa Police Department, said.
Patrol officers checked with residences near the area and were unable to find the child’s home or parent, Weingartner said. The child’s picture was distributed through the police department’s Twitter account, @ottawapd, asking for help identifying the child, and residents familiar with the child contacted police and gave officers the father’s name, he said.
The father, Justin L. Voegeler, later was arrested by Ottawa police on suspicion of endangering a child, Weingartner said. Voegeler remained in the Franklin County Adult Detention Center, 305 S. Main St., Ottawa, late Wednesday afternoon, awaiting a court appearance. The case will be sent to the Franklin County Attorney’s office for prosecution, Weingartner said.
Officers and detectives following up leads and information determined the boy walked away from a house in the 500 block of South Sycamore Street — about a block from where the child was located, Weingartner said.
An adult roommate of the father’s was in the home and asleep when the child wandered off, Weingartner said. The roommate was unaware the child and a 6-month-old infant were at the residence and did not know one of the children had left, Weingartner said, adding the roommate was not considered a suspect.
Police did not release the identities of the roommate, the children or the mother of the children.
Detectives took the 2-year-old boy and the infant found at the residence into police protective custody, Weingartner said.
“Responding officers quickly located someone in the neighborhood who thought they knew who the parent was,” Weingartner said. “At the same time, we took to social media to get the picture of the child out and asked for the public’s help locating a parent. Both techniques worked quickly and worked like we’d hoped. The police want to thank the concerned citizen who called 911 and kept the child safe until we arrived.”