A 10-year-old barefoot girl was sobbing and wearing only a pair of pajamas when she was found wandering in the desert for 30 minutes by a woman walking her dog, authorities said.
Her father, she told the woman, had dumped her in the scorching Arizona wilderness because she didn’t place his pen exactly where he wanted it, according to the Mohave Sheriff’s Department.
Christopher Watson, 28, has been charged with felony child abuse after deputies went to his home Saturday, woke him up and arrested him, deputies said. He smelled of alcohol, the department said in a statement.
The girl was discovered at about 9 a.m. walking without shoes on an asphalt road outside Kingman, authorities said.
A woman and her dog found the child, who was alone and crying, in 91-degree heat.
Asked why she was in tears, the girl said her dad had left her because he was angry with her, deputies said.
Her father had bitten her hand, dragged her out of his truck and sped off, leaving her on a dirt road, she said, according to the department’s statement.
The woman took her home and called 911.
Watson told deputies he had taken his daughter for a drive to calm her down after they argued, authorities said. He acknowledged leaving her in the desert, saying she swore at him and gave him the finger.
Watson said he returned 15 minutes later but couldn’t find her, authorities said. He searched for two hours and then went home, according to the statement. He said deputies arrived at his home before he could call for help.
He was arrested and released on his own recognizance. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 4. It was not clear whether he had entered a plea.
The girl and her 9-year-old brother were placed with the Department of Child Safety.