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Police: Officers search Decatur for baby after father refused to return child to mother
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Police: Officers search Decatur for baby after father refused to return child to mother

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DECATUR — A man who refused to hand his 6-month-old son back to the child's mother after a visit — and even implied he had left the child outside in the street to freeze to death — was arrested on a preliminary charge of child abduction early Thursday.

A sworn affidavit from Decatur Police described how officers dashed around the city late Wednesday night and early Thursday trying to find the baby as the father, 24, taunted the mother in phone calls.

"Go find him, (expletive)," police said he told the 20-year-old mother. "I don’t know where he’s at; I don’t got him; better find him before he freezes."

The temperature in Decatur overnight Wednesday was recorded at 19 degrees, according to the National Weather Service at Lincoln. 

The man even called 911 and implied the mother was endangering “his child.” Police were able to trace the man’s location to the area of East William and North Stone streets via his phone. Officers said they questioned him and learned the child was with a woman at a home in the 1300 block of East Prairie Avenue, and the baby was safe in police custody by 12:35 a.m.

Writing in the affidavit, Police Officer Jacquelyn Danner said the situation had started at 11:05 p.m. when a sister of the mother went to the man’s home in the 1300 block of East Wellington Way to pick up the baby.

But Danner said he refused to give the baby back. When police went to his apartment, they found him and the baby gone.

The mother kept trying to reach the man, who then called her sister to announce the child was left outside a barber shop at the intersection of East William and North Jasper streets. “Officers checked this location and did not locate the child,” Danner wrote.

Police then checked out other addresses where the baby might be and also had the man’s girlfriend call him repeatedly to ask, but he kept hanging up on her. After police got the break with the cellphone track, they had the man under arrest by 1 a.m. He was booked on a preliminary charge of child abduction and disorderly conduct; preliminary charges are subject to review by the state attorney’s office.

A check of Macon County Jail records showed the man remained in custody Thursday night in lieu of posting bail set at $150,000, which means he must post $15,000 to bond out. If he makes bail, he is ordered to stay away from the baby and its mother.

Police noted in the affidavit that the man and the child’s mother were never married and there are no court orders covering child visitation.


Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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