INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - An I-Team 8 hidden camera investigation in May exposed
Tuesday, the father, 36-year-old Jacob Cotton, of Bloomington,
Police received several calls Sunday from concerned drivers whosaw the father holding the toddler alongside the road at Thompsonand Emerson.
In one of the 911 calls, a driver described what she saw.
"And this kid he is like trying to hold on to the kid and thiskid is screaming ballistically and trying to wiggle out of hisarms," she said.
Police say the toddler was sunburned, sick and on the verge ofheat exhaustion.
Cotton along with the girl’s mother, 23-year-old LindsayRamon, are charged with child neglect.
Cotton told reporters from jail, “I was trying to get gasmoney to go back to Bloomington and I had my daughter with metrying to get gas money and I got arrested.”
He claims all the money Ramon made as a stripper over theweekend was stolen.
He said, "She was working up here and we had Gracie. And a kidthat was staying in her motel room stole all of her money out ofher purse and we didn't have any money to get home. And we didn'tknow how else to make money to get home."
He added, "I didn't know what I was doing is wrong. I am reallysorry and I didn't know I would end up here for what I done."
Although there are several 911 calls and witnesses who say hestood outside Hardee’s with the child in the heat for hours,he says not true.
He claimed, “I was out there for about 10minutes.”
I-Team 8 investigated the issue of parents panhandling withtheir kids and found several documented cases in just the last yearacross the country.
In San Francisco, a four-year-old panhandler was eventuallytaken from his parents last July.
In Michigan, a couple stood alongside the road with athree-year-old child looking for donations.
In Ashland Oregon, a couple stood with their three childrenincluding a three-month-old. They claim they made $300 a day.
The issue is concerning to those who called police inIndianapolis July Fourth weekend. One 911 caller was emotional,saying, “I don’t know, the kid is just constantlycrying.”
When arrested by police, Ramon had $93 in cash and Cotton had$5, more than enough to fill a gas tank.
I-Team 8 spoke with the toddler’s grandfather Tuesday, whosays he is very upset by the situation. He declined an interview,saying the family is now talking with Indiana Child ProtectiveServices to help the little girl.
A man police announced was missing Wednesday night has been found safe.
Police on Thursday named the man shot and killed by an officer Wednesday following a police chase.
Lucas Oil Stadium will host the Notre Dame-Purdue football game next year, Purdue University announced on Thursday.