A 29-year-old man who was arrested Monday for allegedly leaving his three young children in a car outside the Orange County Central Jail said he had gone to the facility to deposit money into his wife’s jail account, authorities said.
Gerardo Jose Jimenez, of Garden Grove, was booked on suspicion of cruelty to a child with possible injury or death, police said in a news release.
The children — whose ages ranged from 5 months to 7 years — were taken into custody by the County of Orange Social Services Agency and transported to the Orangewood Children and Family Center.
They were discovered by an off-duty Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputy who saw a gray Honda Accord that was illegally parked in front of the jail’s Intake/Release Center and obstructing traffic in a westbound lane on West Sixth Street, the news release said. He noticed that the car appeared to have been turned off and its windows were open, police said.
The deputy asked nearby adults if the children were theirs. When nobody claimed them, he ran inside the building, where he encountered Jimenez, according to authorities.
The father “told the deputy not to worry, that he had left the air conditioner on,” the police statement said. “But the OCSD deputy knew that the vehicle was off.”
Jimenez was being held at the Santa Ana Jail, located across the street from the Orange County Central Jail, in lieu of $100,000 bail, online records showed. He was expected to appear in court on Wednesday.