The nanny of a 2-year-old boy abandoned at a craft store in Encinitas has been arrested for child endangerment, investigators confirmed Friday.
Carlsbad resident Desirae Harris, 42, was arrested and booked into jail on one count of felony child endangerment, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) said. Her bail was set at $100,000; a public information officer confirmed Friday morning that Harris had posted that bail and was out of jail. She is scheduled to appear in a Vista courtroom on Dec. 1.
Detectives said Harris is the tot’s caregiver but details surrounding why she allegedly left him alone in the store remain unknown. The investigation is ongoing, the SDSO said.
On Thursday, just before noon, the little boy – who told deputies his name was Connor – was discovered wandering around the store by employees and customers. Employees searched the store for Connor’s parents, made announcements on the loudspeaker, and searched the parking lot and surrounding businesses.
The parents weren’t there. Connor was alone.
Deputies were called to the store and, after a thorough search of their own confirmed the child had been left behind.
According to a message posted on a neighborhood social media website by a crime prevention specialist with the SDSO, the toddler had come into the Michael’s store with a woman. The woman and Connor walked around the business and, eventually, the woman walked out by herself, leaving the boy behind.
The SDSO’s helicopter was used to make announcements over the neighborhood in search of Connor’s parents.
The toddler – who appeared to be in good health – was taken into protective custody by Child Welfare Services at the Polinsky Children’s Center, a facility in Kearny Mesa used as a temporary emergency shelter for children separated from their families.
The SDSO released a photo of Connor to the public and asked for help locating his parents. A few hours later, the boy was reunited with his parents. Investigators said his parents were not suspects in the abandonment case.
NBC 7 tried to reach out to Connor's family Friday but SDSO officials said the parents have requested privacy at this time. No further details were released.