Hastings, MN – Robert Rassett, 42, was charged with one count of child neglect and a single count of child endangerment after his 2-year-old was found wandering a Hastings neighborhood clutching a couple of Mike’s Hard Lemonade bottles.
The barefoot toddler was discovered Sunday afternoon around 3 pm, strolling through an intersection at 15th and Florence. He was holding both an open and unopened bottle of Mike’s Hard Lemonade – a beverage made up of a mixture of lemonade flavor and an unflavored malt liquor base.
Hilton Fiedler, a bewildered passerby, noticed the child standing in the middle of the road and called police. His wife retrieved the boy from the street and the Prescott, Wisconsin couple began rapping on doors to see if anyone knew who he was.
Once authorities arrived, they expanded the search, canvasing the surrounding neighborhood. CBS Minnesota reports that police eventually had to resort to using an automated alert system, which called each home within a one mile radius, notifying them of the missing child. The attempt was unsuccessful at garnering an identification of the child or parents.
It is not unheard of for young children to casually meander from a home, sneaking out a screen door or walking out of a yard, but usually a hysterical parent emerges quickly seeking information of the location and safety of the child. Instead, it was over two hours after the child was found before police received a call from Rassett about the missing boy.
Usually parents are grateful and relieved, superfluously thanking those involved when their children are found unharmed, but that was not the response authorities got from Rassett. When police arrived at the residence, they found Rassett heavily intoxicated and uncooperative.
Rassett denied imbibing any alcohol, stating he’d not had a drink in at least two years. The man has three priors for drunk driving. He was taken into custody.
An investigation revealed the mother of the child, who does not live with Rassett, dropped the child off for visitation earlier in the day. The boy was returned to his mother.
It was determined the toddler didn’t consume any of the alcohol, but a report was still filed the Child Protective Services.
Rassett is being detained in the Dakota County Jail on $6,000 bail.
[Image Wikicommons and Mugshot]