Police in Gainesville arrested a man who investigators said left his 5-year-old son to wander around a Walmart store by himself.
Officials said 36-year-old Alejandro Cruz-Cervantes left the boy at the Walmart on Shallowford Road and made “no attempt to retrieve the child.”
The boy was found unattended inside the store about 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Gainesville police said in a statement.
Investigators determined the boy had been dropped off by a cargo van driven by a man possibly named Alejandro, police said. Authorities were able to later identify Cruz-Cervantes as the child’s father.
It’s not clear why Cruz-Cervantes left the boy at the store.
“Although a sad and unfortunate situation, we do appreciate the community taking swift action to help identify this young child,” police Chief Jay Parrish said. “Furthermore, we appreciate those at Walmart who observed this child in need and notified authorities.”
The boy was taken into the custody of the Division of Family and Children Services, Gainesville police said.
Cruz-Cervantes is charged with reckless conduct. He was taken to the Hall County Jail, where he remains on a $1,300 bond.
Asia Simone Burns is a watchdog reporter for the AJC. Burns was formerly an intern in AJC’s newsroom and now writes about crime. She is a graduate of Samford University and has previously reported for NPR and WABE, Atlanta’s NPR member station.