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PD: Colorado dad refuses to pick up toddler who wandered nearly 10 blocks from home during the night

Posted at 9:05 AM, Jul 27, 2014

If the 'welcome sign' on Rocklynn Maldonado's home doesn't prove it, the actions of the 12 year old early Friday morning certainly did.

"I just heard a little jiggling noise on the door and I just heard a little kid's voice saying, 'Where's my papa?'" Rocklynn Maldonado said.

Longmont Police said the 3-year-old boy wandered nearly ten blocks in the middle of the night from his home and into Maldonado's home around 2:30 Friday morning.

"He had no shirt, no shoes, just some blue and white shorts. He cried a couple of times, I remember that. He just kept asking for his dad," Maldonado said.

Police said it took them several hours to figure out the boy's identity and locate his father, Angelo Fernandez. 

Once they found Fernandez, officers said he refused to answer the door.

But the father disagrees with how police are describing his actions.

"I never refused to pick my son up," Fernandez said. "I woke up about 5:30 a.m. and found my son had unlocked the door and left in the middle of the night while we were sleeping. I took off, running around looking for him."

Then Fernandez called police to report his son missing and was told officers had a little boy at the police department.

However, Fernandez's mother, Judy Fernandez, confirmed to 7NEWS that Angelo did not immediately go to the police department to get the boy.  

"He was all hysterical once he learned the police had him [the toddler]," Judy Fernandez said. She said she believes her son feared police would arrest him.

 "He said, 'Mom, I just froze.' He was a mess. He said he couldn't breathe," Judy Fernandez recalled. "He did go [to police headquarters] once he got himself together."

Longmont police said when Fernandez eventually arrived at the station he was given a summons for child abuse.

"It's his son! Kind of makes you wonder, you know, that's probably why the kid wandered off, no supervision," said neighbor, Rudolph Rogers.

7NEWS checked his background and found Fernandez is a registered sex offender with a ten-page rap sheet including sex assault on a child by one in a position of trust. Longmont police said despite his lengthy record, they found nothing on his file restricting him from living with kids.

Police said the toddler has been placed in foster care.

"I think the kid should be taken away for good," Rogers said.

But Angelo Fernandez insisted: "I'm not a bad parent. I'm a great parent."

Judy Fernandez agreed that Angelo is a devoted father, who now fears he'll be barred from having contact with his son.

"I'm not saying that it's not wrong. It was wrong that [the toddler] was so far away from the house," the grandmother said.