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‘I tried to warn them:’ Father of 2-year-old at center of Kenosha Co. child neglect case speaks out

KENOSHA -- The father of a 2-year-old boy involved in a child neglect case spoke with FOX6 News on Sunday, June 24 after learning his son is a victim. Richard Gonzales-Bernhardt said he wants better for the boy.

Gonzales-Bernhardt was up front about the fact that he doesn't have custody of his 2-year-old son, but said the person who does shouldn't.

"He's just my favorite thing in the world," said Gonzales-Bernhardt.

Richard Gonzales-Bernhardt

Gonzales-Bernhardt said he won't forget his son Noah's smile, even though he can only visit with him twice a week. The 27-year-old father said he was disheartened to learn charges were filed out of Kenosha County against the child's grandmother, Rasa Johnson, 52. He said she's been taking care of the boy for the past six to 12 months at an apartment in Kenosha.

"The most troublesome thing with me is dealing with how the state appointed her when I tried to warn them it could happen again," said Gonzales-Bernhardt.

Rasa Johnson

Prosecutors say Johnson was intoxicated when police arrived at the apartment for a welfare check, and she hadn't changed Noah's diaper in at least two days. Tests showed he hadn't eaten in 12 to 24 hours.

"I had some doubts on whether or not she was taking care of him. However, I didn't really believe she wouldn't take care of him," said Gonzales-Bernhardt.

According to prosecutors, police observed Johnson ignoring the child when he asked for water, until they demanded she give it to him. That's something Gonzales-Bernhardt said is hard to comprehend. He said he simply wants a better life for his son.

"It's a lot of hurt to see she would go to that length and basically destroy herself, let alone his life," said Gonzales-Bernhardt.

The child's biological mother is serving a prison sentence for a felony count of child abuse. We're told both she and Gonzales-Bernhardt lost custody of the child after that. We're told the child is now safe with a foster family.

Johnson has a preliminary hearing set for June 28. Cash bond was set at $1,500 when she made her initial apperance on June 18. She faces one count of neglecting a child, consequence is bodily harm.