WILLITS, Mendocino County (CBS SF) – A Mendocino County man living in a homeless encampment with his 2-year-old son is in custody after allegedly leaving his child tied to a tree branch and not providing basic necessities.

According to a statement from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, deputies arrested 27-year-old Jeffrey Wilson at the encampment located on Highway 20 near Willits around 3:20 p.m. on July 27th.

Deputies were dispatched to the scene after the property owner complained multiple times about transients living on her property.

When deputies arrived at the encampment, they found Wilson and observed the boy’s wrist was tied to a tree branch. They also found the child lacked basic food and water and was only clothed with a diaper. Several weapons and other “dangerous” items within the boy’s reach were also found.

Deputies placed Wilson under arrest and child protective services was brought in to take custody of the child. Animal Control was also brought in to take custody of animals living in the encampment.

Wilson is facing charges of felony child neglect and abuse, possession of a controlled substance and trespassing.

He was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he is held on $25,000 bail.

  1. I’m taking this one with a grain of salt. Not enough information is provided in this story for the reader to evaluate whether the child was actually in danger. How far away was the dad while the kid was on a leash tied to a bush? What were the allegedly dangerous items within reach of the kid? What was the temperature when the kid was only wearing a diaper? If it was hot, then a diaper is reasonable attire for a toddler. Had the child just eaten and drank? If so, it’s not unreasonable not to give him another bottle right away. How DO you safely confine a child when you don’t live indoors? It isn’t fair to criminalize parents for being homeless. Consider this: presumably the child had been turned over to his dad because the dad was the more responsible parent.

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