A 3-year-old child was found under a pile of trash in the back of a running car. Three Columbus, Ohio police officers made the discovery in the early hours of Aug. 13.
“As they’re shining the light in there they can see just barely a portion of some fingers of a child, a small child,” said Patrol Deputy Chief Thomas Quinlan of the Columbus Division of Police, according to Fox 28.
Officers on patrol approached a blue Chevy Cavalier sedan with its trunk open at 1:36 a.m.. The engine was running. They saw trash, old food, and cigarette butts piled up inside the vehicle. The garbage seemed to be pulled from a dumpster. They were about to leave before they noticed a small hand sticking up from a pile of broken windows. The officers opened the door and discovered the sleeping 3-year-old. The child was clutching an adult-sized jacket and was stuffed into an unsecured child safety seat that was too small for him, as The Columbus Dispatch reports.
“The child was in the car seat without any clothes on and completely covered by a lot of debris, including glass,” said Quinlan via the Fox 28 interview.
The father was found nearby. He was sweating profusely, disoriented, and seemed to be under the influence of drugs.
Twenty-seven-year-old Arthur Fullard was arrested and charged with child endangering and heroin possession, plus numerous outstanding warrants. The warrants were from multiple jurisdictions for not complying with drug court. Fullard is now in Franklin County jail with bond set at $45,000.
“There were so many different foil packages in the car with heroin in it,” said Quinlan in the Fox 28 interview. The heroin packages surrounded the child, along with the garbage. Drug paraphernalia was also discovered inside the vehicle.
Fullard was looking through dumpsters in the area for things he could turn into cash, in order to get money for drugs.
“To be confronted with that as an officer is heartbreaking and it’s also rewarding to the officers that they were there and made a difference in that’s child’s life,” Quinlan told Fox 28.
Of the three officers who discovered the child, two were from the Columbus Division of Police, and one was from The Ohio State University Police Division.
“This incident was emotionally taxing for the involved officers,” said Sergeant Stephen Mason in a Facebook post from the Columbus Division of Police.
The child was directly taken to Franklin County Children’s Services.
A few days earlier, a man and woman were arrested in Ohio while trafficking methamphetamine. A 3-year-old was in the backseat at the time of the arrest.
Detectives with the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force observed a drug transaction. After the vehicle was pulled over for running a stop sign, officers saw the drugs and the child. The driver was also driving on a suspended license. The child belonged to the front seat passenger. Both adults were charged with second-degree felonies for aggravated trafficking in drugs, according to the Newark Advocate.