Monica Garske

North County Nanny Pleads Guilty to Abandoning Toddler at Encinitas Craft Store

Desirae Harris left a 2-year-old boy in her care alone at a Michael's craft store on North El Camino Real on Nov. 16, 2017

A North County nanny accused of abandoning a toddler in her care at a craft store in Encinitas last fall has pleaded guilty to the crime.

At a court appearance Monday, Desirae Harris, 42, entered a guilty plea on child endangerment charges, a court clerk confirmed. A petty theft charge against Harris was dismissed.

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On Nov. 16, 2017, employees and customers at a Michael's craft store on North El Camino Real in Encinitas found a 2-year-old boy wandering the store, alone. The toddler said his name was Connor.

Employees searched the store for the tot's parents, made announcements on the loudspeaker and searched the parking lot and surrounding businesses.

Connor's parents weren't there. He was alone.

A six-and-half-hour search for the boy's parents ensued. The SDSO's helicopter was used to make announcements over the neighborhood.

Connor was in good health and 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.

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The SDSO also released a photo of Connor to the public and asked for help locating his parents.

Eventually, the toddler was reunited with his family. Investigators said his parents were not suspects in the abandonment case.

SDSO investigators said Connor had visited the craft store with a woman, later identified as Harris -- the boy's nanny.

She and Connor walked around the business for a bit and then Harris walked out by herself, leaving the boy behind. Detectives didn't release details as to why she abandoned him in the store.

The nanny was arrested the following day and booked into jail on one count of felony child endangerment. Harris posted bail and was released.

A court clerk said Harris is set to be sentenced on May 8.

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