Father charged after toddler found half-naked, wandering the streets

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SHEBOYGAN (WITI) -- A half-naked toddler is found roaming a neighborhood in a dirty diaper. This happened last Saturday morning in Sheboygan. Several women found the boy and took care of him until police arrived. They then began to search for the parents.

A criminal complaint says the parents were out drinking with friends on Friday night -- and had their teenage daughter watch the three-year-old at home.

The next morning, police came to the house with the boy in their custody. On Thursday, August 21st, the toddler's mother told FOX6 News she has no idea how or why the boy got out.

Tiffany Dahlke

Tiffany Dahlke

The toddler's mother is reluctant, but does continue to talk about what happened to the boy. The child has autism -- and was not able to communicate. When police found the parents, a criminal complaint says they also found filthy living conditions. Police say there were dirty dishes in the sink, missing windows, no electricity upstairs and a foul odor.

"It's normally not like that," said Tiffany Dahlke, the toddler's mother. "It's usually clean like during the week, like twice a week."

The child's father, John Dahlke, is now charged with three counts of misdemeanor child neglect. This, after police questioned the parents -- saying both were disoriented, slurring their words and incoherent.

"Me and my husband had gone out the night before, but normally he does not get out of the house," said Tiffany Dahlke.

A neighbor saw police surround the home this past weekend. He doesn't know the family involved, but knows what it's like to care for a child who has autism.

"If you've ever dealt with any autistic kids, I have a nephew that's autistic and it's constant monitoring," said Tim Gills, neighbor.

It is not known how long the child might have been wandering the neighborhood before being found. Other than the dirty diaper, the criminal complaint says the little boy appeared to be well-fed -- and did not have any scratches or injuries.

5 comments

  • Sheila Moyet

    Another prime example of poor parenting. It very lucky this little child was not snatched up. It could have ended up much worse. I think the mother should be charged also.

  • Samara

    Leaving the child with a teenager is what many parents do on a regular basis. So, if I hire a teen to babysit my little guy and she lets him wander off…I would be held responsible? (I am asking this about the babysitter situation only. Obviously, disgusting home conditions and alcohol impairment are a whole different ballgame.)

    • Lexii

      The teenager was NOT LEFT RESPONSIBLE for the child she was not babysitting the parents were home but they were asleep because of drugs and alcohol. the house is NEVER CLEAN it is filthy and dirty.

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