Grandfather arrested for paying homeless woman $20 to babysit granddaughter, 7, ‘while he got drunk at bar’

Jason Warren, 54, gave woman money to take granddaughter to thrift store for four hours

Michelle Del Rey
Thursday 09 May 2024 22:14
Man arrested for leaving granddaughter with homeless woman to go to bar

A grandfather has been arrested for felony child endangerment after leaving his granddaughter with a homeless stranger so that he could go to a bar, police said.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call on Monday evening at The Cinder’s Bar in Sacramento after Jason Warren, 54, was seen asking people for help and claiming that his seven-year-old granddaughter had been kidnapped for human trafficking.

Police said Mr Warren was “highly intoxicated”, and told them he had given a homeless woman $20 to take the child to a thrift store approximately four hours earlier.

The homeless woman, Lauren Jope, 34, told KCRA that Mr Warren had asked her to take the child to the store to buy a pair of shorts, and some things for herself.

Lauren Jope, 34, leapt into action this week when a man asked her to take care of his seven-year-old granddaughter so he could get “drunk” in a bar, police said (ABC10)

Security footage later confirmed that Ms Jope left the area with the child after she came out of the thrift store and noticed the man was drunk. She took the girl to her encampment to get food, a detail that the child later corroborated to police.

“This guy is just totally belligerently drunk and just kind of scary. He turned into a totally different person, and so I got his granddaughter away until things kind of simmered down, because I didn’t know what was really going on,” Ms Jope said.

“I just wanted to make sure she was safe and that she’s okay.”

Officials began searching the area, and the woman returned to the bar with the child after hearing a public announcement.

The girl was cleared to return to live with her aunt, who has full custody of her. The aunt said that she’d asked Mr Warren to care for the child because she had to go to work.

Sheriff Department Chief Amar Gandhi called Ms Jope a guardian angel.

“I can’t sing her praises high enough,” he said. “For having the wherewithal to say, ‘Hey this girl is in danger. I’m going to do everything I can to protect her.’”

Mr Warren was held at Sacramento County Main Jail on a $75,000 bond. County records show he was released on Wednesday.

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