ST. PETERSBURG — The father of a 16-month-old boy who disappeared for six hours Friday left his son alone because he was selling drugs, St. Petersburg police said.
Tamarcus Daise has been charged with child neglect, in addition to a charge of obstruction of justice, police said. Daise went into a unit at the Sierra Palms apartments at 17th Street and First Avenue N to make the drug transaction shortly after 4 p.m., police said.
He left his namesake son in a car seat in the back of an idling 2010 Dodge Charger, and when he returned, the vehicle was gone. Daise called police at 4:23 p.m. to report the rental car stolen.
When police got there, Daise, 29, provided "false information" about Tamarcus Daise Jr. that impeded their investigation, they said. The father was released from the Pinellas County Jail early Saturday after posting $10,500 bail.
Meanwhile, the toddler's grandmother, Irma Daniels, said the boy was doing fine and appeared unaffected by the episode.
"I don't know if he was scared or not," Daniels said Saturday. "We're truly blessed. We were glad to get him home. He's just normal, like nothing happened to him."
The child was found unharmed at about 10:20 p.m., sleeping in the red Charger, which was tucked in an alley in the 2100 block of Dartmouth Avenue. The car was found about 10 blocks from where it was stolen, police said.
The father's half brother, Tyreece Rutledge, 27, also was arrested on a charge of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. He was released from jail after posting $10,000 bail.
Police said Rutledge pointed a gun at Sgt. Al White as White and other officers were going door to door blocks away from the scene. No shots were fired, and the men were arrested soon after.
Daise has a record of drug arrests starting in 1999, according to state records, and has done two stints in prison. He was sentenced to nearly five years in prison in 1999 for the sale and possession of cocaine, and to another year in 2006 on a separate drug charge.