Erika Gonzalez, William Hennessy
Samuel Mack told authorities he left his 18-month-old daughter with another man at the Occupy DC camp while he went to get her food, but police say his story doesn't add up. (Courtroom Sketches by William Hennessy)
A man accused of abandoning a toddler at the McPherson Square tent city told authorities he had left the child in another’s care.
Samuel Mack, 39, pleaded not guilty Thursday to second-degree attempted cruelty to children, News4’s Erika Gonzalez reported.
The 13-month-old girl was found alone wearing only a onesie in a tent as rail fell and temperatures were in the 40s about 10 a.m. Wednesday. Mack returned about 40 minutes after police took the child into custody, Park Police said. The girl was alone about 30 minutes before being discovered.
Police did not find anyone with the name Mack gave as the person he left the child with at McPherson Square, Gonzalez reported. Mack also told authorities he’d left the child while he went to get her some food, but when he returned, he didn’t have any.
The child was evaluated at the park and appeared to be in stable condition.
Mack was released on personal recognizance Thursday but ordered to stay away from the girl, other minors, McPherson Square and 15th, I and K streets in the area. If he wants to retrieve personal property from the area, he must be escorted by police, Gonzalez reported.
Mack is not part of the Occupy DC movement that has set up camp at McPherson Square.
The girl was taken in to the custody of Child Protective Services and then returned to her family, her mother told Gonzalez.
Mack was not the child's father, as originally reported, but a father figure, her mother told Gonzalez. Mack would take care of the child off and on. Her mother recently found it odd that the girl would come back from Mack sick or smelling like mildew. Then on Wednesday, she got the call about the child found in McPherson Square.