Corrections officer indicted, charged after 3-year-old found wandering alone

Correction officer arrested, charged after 3-year-old found wandering alone

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A corrections officer with the Montford Unit was indicted on Tuesday, charged with abandonment, endangering a child and criminal negligence.

29-year-old Michael Blanco was arrested after his 3-year-old step-child was found wandering alone two separate times on Saturday night, April 23. The first incident involved the child wandering alone along the South Loop 289 access road, and the second incident involved the child wandering alone in the Waterside Village Apartments in the 2300 block of 70th Street.

According to police reports, the child was returned after found wandering on the Loop, and no enforcement action was taken. During the second incident, police say a neighbor was keeping the child safe until the officers arrived. Police noted the child did not appear injured and seemed in very good spirits, but he could not tell the officer where he came from or what his name was.

The officer put the two incidents together and went to the apartment of 29-year-old Michael Blanco. The officer noticed the glass screen door was ajar and the front door was standing open. The officer noticed the apartment was in "disgusting disarray. Trash strewn everywhere and furniture was overturned," according to the police report.

The officer also noticed the overwhelming smell of dirty diapers and human feces. He walked into the apartment and noticed Blanco asleep on the bed with another small child laying next to him. There was also an infant asleep in a bassinet next to the bed.

The officer woke up Blanco and asked if he knew where his son was. He replied, "he got out again?" The officer noted the bedroom was also filled with "trash and was disgusting."

Blanco told the officer that he couldn't keep the child in the apartment and did not know how to lock the door properly.

[Blanco] is 29 years old and is employed as a licensed, professional jailer in the Montford Unit, which is a facility within the network of jails operated and staffed by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. A jailer is defined as someone who forcibly confines another. [Blanco] explained to [the officer] that despite the knowledge his vocation affords, he was either unwilling or unable to keep a three-year-old child inside of his apartment and away from busy traffic.

During the investigation, it is estimated the child had been out of the house for nearly an hour.

Blanco was arrested and charged with abandon/endangering a child criminal neglect. He was released the same day on a $3,500 bond.

Child protective services was called to the scene.

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