Police are investigating why a Utah dad apparently deserted his 5-year-old daughter in the middle of the night and left her in the cold to fend for herself.
A security guard later found her around 7:30 a.m., and the whole thing was caught on surveillance video, according to KTLA sister station KSTU in Salt Lake City.
The girl’s mother said her daughter was traumatized by the experience, which occurred Oct. 9 while the child was staying with her father at his parents' house for the weekend.
The father brought the girl to a doorway on the campus of the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College in Ogden, then left her there all alone, police said.
“She said she got scared,” the girl’s mother said. “She was yelling, 'Daddy!' but no one was there.”
In order to protect the identity of the child, KTLA is not identifying her mother or father by name. The girl's mother said her daughter was left with limited resources in the 39-degree weather.
“She said she just kind of had her blanket and waited until daylight,” the mother said.
Fred Frazier, security manager for the school, said the girl stuck to one spot.
“She stays right where she was told to stay,” he said, as he watched the security footage.
Her mom said the girl’s dad "told her to shut up, and lay down and go to sleep."
When security officers found her, she was hurt and crying. The girl's mother said her daughter had been running toward the security officer for help when she fell, scraping her knee and hand.
"It was heartbreaking for him," Frazier said. "To see a little girl running alone by herself. That's when he got very concerned, and she was shivering and cold.”
Ogden police say they are still trying to figure out what the father thinking.
“We don't know really what purpose he'd take the child (for), (or) if there was a drug-induced psychosis. Right now, we're waiting to interview the father,” Lt. Tim Scott of the Ogden Police Department said.
Meanwhile, her mom wants answers on why her girl was left in the cold and why police have not yet spoken to the girl's father.
The mother told KSTU they've had issues with the girl's father in the past. She said a protective order she filed on behalf of her daughter got denied by the courts, despite other family members also having a protective order against the man.
Ogden Police said the Department of Child and Family Services is involved in the investigation, and that the man could be charged with felony child abandonment or abuse.