Fri, Jun 28, 2013
Thursday night, June 28, a six-year old girl was reported missing in the Gonzales area. Gonzales Police Department officers, local fire services, OHSEP and emergency volunteers combed the area and began an investigation. Fortunately the child was found safely, yet officers have since discovered that initial findings may not be what they first seemed.
At 5:43 p.m, officers were dispatched to 1327 E. Hwy 30 in Gonzales. John Peppers Jr, a renter at the address, informed officers that he had woken from a nap to find the girl he was babysitting had disappeared. Officers later learned that Peppers, who had been watching the child since 4:00 p.m. that afternoon, had not seen the child in over an hour.
Search teams were called in, including the Gonzales Fire Department, Galvez/Lake Fire Department, St. Amant Fire Department, Geismar Fire Department, 5th Ward Fire Department, 7th District Fire Department, Sorrento Fire Department, Hunts Correctional K-9 officers, Ascension Parish OHSEP, Baton Rouge Police Department Air Assests, and the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office.
According to Detective Steven Nethken, investigators found the mother had been contacted by Peppers regarding the missing girl.
“Gonzales investigators learned through interviews with the child’s biological mother, identified as Krissa Donaldson, that she had dropped her daughter off with John Peppers Jr, whom she identified as the child’s godfather at 4:00 p.m. earlier on Thursday, so she could attend a training class for work. The mother said that around 6:00 p.m. she received a phone call from Peppers asking if she had come and picked up the child and that he could not find her.”
During the investigation, it was learned that Peppers had indeed fallen asleep while looking after the child. Upon receiving information that the child had been found with a family friend, more information became available.
“We found out that the family friend found the child wishing to leave the residence of Mr. Peppers,” said Nethken. “We were told that Mr. Peppers was passed out on the couch and that attempts to wake him were futile.”
John Peppers Jr, 24, of 1327 E. Hwy 30, Gonzales, has been arrested and charged with one count of child desertion as a result of the incident and has been booked into the Ascension Parish Jail.
The child’s mother, Krissa Donaldson, 20, of 6727 Hwy. 996, Belle Rose, has also been issued a summons for one count of improper supervision of a minor by a parent.
“Considerable resources had been mobilized to assist in the location of this child, and we are grateful that the final outcome was what it was,” said Nethken. “This is the type of call that sends chills down an officer’s spine. We as a department are blessed to have the working relationship that we have with our neighboring law enforcement and fire department partners that made all of this possible. The constant supervision of a child is imperative to their safety. Things can happen in an instant. We urge anyone responsible for watching any minor child to be focused on that supervision.”
Source: The Creole