05/18/2024

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Jason Warren is interviewed from a jail in Sacramento after police charged him with child endangerment. YouTube screengrab from Fox affiliate KTXL.

‘She looked like a decent person’: Grandpa left 7-year-old with homeless woman for $20 so he could go to a bar, cops say

Jason Warren is interviewed from a jail in Sacramento after police charged him with child endangerment. YouTube screengrab from Fox affiliate KTXL.

Police say a “highly intoxicated” grandfather in California has been charged with child endangerment after he paid a homeless woman $20 so he could grab a drink at a bar and then proceeded to wander around later asking for help and declaring the 7-year-old had been kidnapped for human trafficking.

Jason Warren, 54, was arrested on May 6 in Sacramento after police responded to a 911 call from someone who said they spoke to a man walking around the parking lot of The Cinders bar on Auburn Boulevard pleading for help to find the girl, according to a statement from the Sacramento Sheriff’s Facebook page.

That call to dispatch prompted sheriffs to use a helicopter, drones and K-9 units to immediately launch a search. Just 30 minutes later, police said the homeless woman heard an announcement over a nearby PA system about the search and brought the girl back to the bar parking lot.

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    “The female confirmed that Warren had given her money to take the child to the thrift store. She went on to tell deputies that Warren was highly intoxicated and she did not think he could care for the child,” a police statement said.

    The woman took the girl to her “camp” to give her food, and the child corroborated what the woman told police. The sheriff’s office said the child was not injured nor in distress but she was given a medical evaluations as a precaution.

    The woman who looked after Warren’s daughter, Lauren Jope, 43, told Sacramento Fox affiliate KTXL: “It was kind of like, OK, that’s kind a big thing and you don’t really know who I am but she’ll be safe with me.”

    Jope said the girl did not seem scared and that “it seems like its something that happened before.”

    Police said when they finally spoke to Warren, it was clear he was inebriated as he explained that he gave an “unknown homeless woman $20 to take his granddaughter to a nearby thrift store while he want into the bar approximately four hours earlier,” police said.

    Surveillance footage from outside of the bar showed him leaving the girl with the woman.

    It was later determined that full custody of the child belonged to the girl’s aunt and she had asked Warren to watch the child since she was called into work. The girl has been returned to her aunt’s care after Child Protective Services determined it was safe.

    Warren was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail and was held on $75,000 bond. He made his first court appearance Wednesday and remains in detention.

    In an interview with Fox affiliate KTXL from inside jail, Warren told a reporter he left the girl with the woman because she seemed trustworthy.

    “I knew, I could tell by her character, she looked like a decent person. I trusted her like I would trust my sister or my cousin,” Warren said.

    When the Fox reporter asked if he had considered that something bad could have happened in the four hours he left her with a stranger, he said: “I thought it about it the whole time. But I trust God. God is not going to lead me into a place where he can’t do much.”

    He also remarked: “Four hours I was there?”

    Warren told the outlet he was having car trouble when he pulled up to the bar and he claimed his cellphone was dead. He also said that he knew he couldn’t take the girl into the bar so he left her with Jope. A woman who worked at the thrift store where Jope took the child told Fox she was smiling and happy while they browsed the store. Jope said she also got the girl an ice cream and let her visit with her dog at her encampment.

    Sacramento Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Amar Gandhi called Jope “for lack of a better word, a guardian angel.”

    “Is it my fault for leaving my granddaughter with a guardian angel?” Warren said from behind glass at the Sacramento Main Jail on Wednesday.

    When asked if he would do it again, he said: “Yes, I would. Everything I did I told God and I said, you know what, it’s your will God, not mine.”

    In addition to the felony child endangerment charge, Warren is charged with a single misdemeanor of disorderly conduct/drunk in public.

    It is unclear if Warren has retained an attorney.

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    The post ‘She looked like a decent person’: Grandpa left 7-year-old with homeless woman for $20 so he could go to a bar, cops say first appeared on Law & Crime.