Monday, May 21, 2018
Public safety

Pasco man charged with neglect after toddler wanders off

NEW PORT RICHEY – It was just before 6 p.m. Saturday night when someone noticed her: a 3-year-old girl, wearing only a T-shirt, underwear and flip-flops, toddling in the middle of Main Street toward U.S. 19.

Someone called the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

Jeffrey David Lenco woke up about 6:30 p.m. and realized his daughter was missing. He said he drove around his neighborhood and enlisted several friends in the search but didn't see her.

He came back home a few minutes later to find a deputy in his driveway. The deputy wrote Lenco "calmly told me (he) had lost his 3-year-old and could not find her."

Lenco, 47, explained that he fell asleep about 5 p.m. on the couch at his Vortex Avenue home, a tenth of a mile from where the girl was found unharmed. His daughter wanted to play, he told deputies, but he told her "I need to sleep, give me some time."

Lenco said he was tired because he works an early morning shift distributing the Tampa Bay Times. His wife works nights.

Lenco was arrested on a charge of child neglect. He told the Times he has since put chain locks on his doors and is looking into getting the charges dropped.

He was released about 3 a.m. Sunday from the Land O'Lakes jail after posting $5,000 bail. He said he still managed to deliver every paper on his route.

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