Parents arrested after child found wandering alone, father denies it’s his kid
San Tan Valley, AZ (KTVK) — Sheriff’s deputies arrested a San Tan Valley couple after their 19-month-old son was found wandering around alone.
A resident called the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Thursday afternoon after finding a young boy running down the street unsupervised, according to sheriff’s spokesman Tim Gaffney.
Deputies went door to door showing photos of the boy for nearly two hours to try and find his parents. A Reverse 911 call was completed and a person identified the child as possibly belonging to a family who lives in the 3100 block of West Hayden Road.
Gaffney said deputies contacted Larry Michael Lewis at the home and showed him a picture of the child, but he told them it was not his son. He said his son was at work with his girlfriend.
Lewis then showed the deputies a picture of his son on his cellphone. Gaffney said the child was the same and he was wearing the same shirt in both pictures.
Deputies said Lewis was extremely impaired by prescription medications.
During the investigation, it was learned that Lewis and Kaitlyn S. Gulish, 28, are the biological parents of the child and they both live at the residence. Investigators said Gulish was at work at the time the child went missing and had no idea of his disappearance until a friend called to tell her and she rushed home.
Investigators said the house was in complete disarray and there were holes in the walls and one of the doors. They said there was vomit in the master bedroom and feces on the floor of the child’s bedroom and playroom.
“Kaitlyn told deputies, last night she attempted to hide the prescription medication Larry takes as he is an addict and took way too many of the pills during the day,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said in a news release. “Larry became angry when he discovered his pills were missing, so he punched and kicked holes into the walls and a door of the home until she gave him his pills back. Kaitlyn said she did not trust Larry because of his altered mental state as a result of him abusing the prescription medications and knew she should not have left their child with him but she did anyways.”
Lewis and Gulish were arrested for child abuse and endangerment. Additionally, Lewis was held on an outstanding arrest warrant related to domestic violence and traffic offenses.
A family member has been given temporary custody of the child.