JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — A Littleton man has been charged with child endangerment after his two young children were found wandering the streets Wednesday afternoon.
Jefferson County sheriff's deputies were called about 12:30 p.m. when a woman spotted the toddlers near Blue Heron Park. The boys were unharmed but did not have parental supervision. The boys are 2 to 3 years old.
“These kids are just very young and not able to tell us the things that we’re asking,” Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said.
The sheriff's office turned to social media to ask for help locating the boys’ family. The children spent close to five hours with social services and deputies checked more than 100 homes by going door to door.
At 4:03 p.m. Amber Ray Snyder, 24, who identified herself as the children's mother, called Jefferson County Communications to identify the children and said the boys were supposed to be with their father, 25-year-old Kyle Paul McClelland, according to an affidavit from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.
McClelland's home was about a couple hundred yards away from where the children were found, according to the sheriff's office. Deputies said the boys would have walked past a park containing an unfenced pond and crossed a roadway to reach that location, not within sight of their father's home.
Deputies located McClelland after they said they repeatedly knocked at his front door. McClelland allegedly told officers he had just woken from a nap 30 minutes before deputies arrived and discovered the children were missing.
McClelland said he had laid down with his sons about two hours before for a nap, but when he woke up he found both boys were missing.
According to the affidavit, Snyder is McClelland's ex-wife and said she dropped the children off at his home specifically to be watched and cared for by their father. Snyder has been cited for child abuse for not ensuring the kids were in capable hands when dropped off, the sheriff's office said.
McClelland was arrested at his home. He is charged with criminally negligent child abuse not resulting in injury.
At his arraignment Thursday, McClelland pleaded not guilty. His case has been set for pretrial conference on Nov. 5.
His bond was set at $2,000. He was still in custody during his hearing Thursday, the sheriff's office said.