Pinal County deputies arrested a San Tan Valley couple after their 2-year-old boy was found abandoned outside his residence in the 700 block of E. Payton Street. The parents, Brent Daley, 27, and Brianne Daley, 25 were arrested for child endangerment and child neglect after they left the child home alone for up to 90 minutes. Both parents admitted they had left the child home alone to go play the Pokémon Smartphone game in nearby neighborhoods.
Sheriff Paul Babeu said, “Our agency and many other law enforcement agencies have been warning people about personal safety while playing this interactive Smartphone game, but we never would have imagined that parents would abandon a child to play Pokémon Go. This goes beyond comprehension.” He went on to say, “The deputies found the child locked out of his home in 96 degree weather with no water while his parents were gone interacting with their Smartphone game.”
On July 28, at 10:30 p.m., a neighbor called the Pinal County 9-1-1 Communications Center reporting that she found a 2-year-old boy outside her neighbor’s house. She said that nobody was home and the child appeared to have been abandoned. Deputies arrived and found the child screaming and crying attempting to get into the residence. The child was barefoot with only a diaper and a T-shirt on. The child was red faced, sweaty, and dirty.
Deputies found the house unlocked and searched inside for any adults. They found three dogs inside, but no people inside. They confirmed by family pictures that the child lived at the residence. Deputies found a phone number for someone they believed was the boy’s dad, Brent Daley. When they called and told him his child was found abandoned, he replied, “Whatever”, and hung up on the deputies.
While deputies had been on the scene for almost an hour, the couple showed up at the house. They confirmed that they were the boy’s parents and said they left the boy sleeping while they went out to get gas in their car. The couple was arrested for child neglect and endangerment.
Sheriff Babeu described the couple’s statements after they were arrested, saying, “The couple admitted they were away from the residence for up to 90 minutes playing the Pokémon Go Smartphone game. They said they were driving around San Tan Valley, stopping at parks and other places to interact with the game.”
The couple was booked and held in custody at the PCSO Jail awaiting to see a judge for the felony charges. The state Department of Child Services took custody of the child.