A Victorville mom has been arrested by local police officers in California after her 2-year-old toddler was found unattended, surrounded by a pack of dogs at a local park. According to a press release issued by the Victorville Police department, the toddler was found wearing only a soiled diaper in wet weather (it was raining at the time) at Brentwood Park, located at 14026 Hook Boulevard at around 10:15 a.m., local time on Wednesday. Victorville police have since then arrested the mom, later identified as 26-year-old Cassandra Violet Bustamante. Officials later confirmed that Cassandra has been arrested on suspicion of child cruelty.
According to the press release issued by the Victorville Police Department, they received a report about a toddler being surrounded by a pack of dogs at Brentwood Park. Following the information, a team of police department personnel were dispatched to the scene to investigate. Upon reaching the park, one of the sergeants found the young boy in the rain, wearing only a soiled diaper, surrounded by a pack of approximately seven dogs. The pack of dogs were reportedly very protective of the toddler, the press release added.
An excerpt from the official press statement read,
“On December 21, 2016, at 10:14 a.m., Victorville Police Department personnel were dispatched to Brentwood Park, following the report of a toddler being surrounded by a pack of dogs. A Sergeant was the first to arrive at the park and found a two-year-old boy, wearing only a soiled diaper, in the rain surrounded by approximately seven dogs. The dogs seemed to be very protective of the toddler when the Sergeant approached him to get him out of the rain and cold weather.”
Once the officers were able to safely take custody of the child, they launched an investigation into the incident. Officers were soon able to locate the home of the toddler, which they found was just around the corner from Brentwood Park. When officers reached the home for investigation, they saw that the front door of the home was left open. Upon getting inside, they were surprised to see the same pack of dogs who were earlier seen at the park, inside. Cassandra Bustamante, according to the officers, was found sleeping inside her home. There were two other young children in the home at the time. When she was woken up and asked about the whereabouts of her child, she, claimed that she was unaware that her son had been outside.
“When deputies arrived at the home, they found the front door standing open, and the dogs from the park were inside. The toddler’s mother, Cassandra Bustamante, and two young siblings were in the home, as well. The mother was sleeping and apparently did not know her son had left the house”, the press statement added.
Officers are still investigating how the toddler crawled out of the main door and reached the park.
Later, police officers contacted officials from the Children and Family Services (CFS) owing to the nature of the incident. They initially took custody of all the three children under Cassandra’s care and later took the call to release the children to their father. They also registered the arrest of Cassandra Bustamante who was later booked into the High Desert Detention Center for child cruelty.
During the course of the investigation, one of the dogs at Cassandra’s home attacked and lunged at a sergeant who had to open fire in self-defense. The injured dog was later listed to be in a stable condition and is now recovering. All the other animals found at the home are now being handled by Animal Control authorities. Meanwhile, the Victorville Police Department has asked for anyone with more information on the incident to come forward and contact them on 760-241-2911. Anonymous tipsters may call 800-782-7463, or go to wetip.com.
[Featured Image by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]