Police arrested two men in separate child abuse cases recently after one reportedly left his 2-year-old on the side of the road and the other allegedly hit his 2-month-old on the head, leaving a golf ball-size knot.
Ashley Ryan Rogers, 30, and Jacob Anthony Morales, 23, both of Payson, each now face a charge of child abuse.
The first case happened May 21 when a motorist saw Rogers stop on Houston Mesa Road about 10 a.m., leave his 2-year-old son on the side of the road and drive off toward Mesa del Caballo. The witness stopped and picked up the boy, who had no shoes or socks on, and called police.
When officers arrived, Rogers had not returned.
They took the toddler, who appeared in good health, to the hospital to be checked over. They then notified Child Protective Services along with the boy’s mother, who told police she had recently broken up with Rogers, in part, because he had been acting strangely.
An hour after dropping off the boy, Rogers called police.
Det. Mike McAnerny noted in his police report that Rogers showed signs of impairment, although blood results from the lab have not confirmed whether he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
On May 25, police investigated another case of child abuse, this time in the 1100 block of William Tell Circle.
Morales’ wife called police about 11 a.m. after she discovered a large bruise on the back of their 2-month-old’s head.
The couple had reportedly argued earlier in the day at Walmart and when they returned home, the woman stepped out to cool down and call her mother, said Det. Mike Varga.
She said she heard the baby start to scream and when she came back in, found the mark on the boy, Varga said. Morales denied any wrongdoing and fled before police arrived.
Officers searched for Morales for hours while doctors worked to stabilize the boy, who was airlifted to the Valley in critical condition.
Detectives learned a court had convicted Morales of domestic violence and he was attending anger management classes at Southwest Behavioral, Varga said. The woman said she had left Morales before, but felt pressured to return to him.
Through text messaging, Det. Matt VanCamp eventually convinced Morales to turn himself in the next morning. The baby is expected to survive.