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3-year-old found wandering after caregiver left to buy cigarettes

NEW PORT RICHEY

A toddler was found wandering alone at Lassen Avenue and Laird Drive at 10:14 a.m. Wednesday. A passerby saw the three-year-old girl and called 911.

Authorities searched for more than an hour trying to find out where the child came from. Kevin Doll, spokesman for the Pasco Sheriff's Office, said no 911 calls came in from the child's caregivers saying the toddler was missing. In trying to find the child's parents, the Sheriff's Office sent automated telephone calls to all home numbers within a two-mile radius of where the girl was found.

A sergeant found the child's family – who were out looking for the girl – at 11:41 a.m. The caregiver is Tyler W. Buchholtz, 25, of 3242 La Verne Court., nearly a quarter of a mile from where the child was found. Buchholtz' relationship to the child was not released by the Sheriff's Office.

According to her arrest report, she told authorities she left the house to buy cigarettes and asked her brother to watch the child. The brother said Buchholtz never asked him and that he was asleep when all of this happened.

Buchholtz is charged with child abuse and is being held in the Land O'Lakes jail in lieu of $5,000 bail. Doll would not release information about the child, but said in cases like this, the child is either with a family member or in state custody. He said the child was not injured during the incident.

3-year-old found wandering after caregiver left to buy cigarettes 05/21/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 22, 2009 9:06am]
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