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Man faces neglect charge


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A Columbus man who took his 6-year-old son out of a warm home into frigid cold temperatures without a coat or a place to go has been arrested, police said.

Thomas R. Foerster II, 38, and his boy had been staying at a mobile home occupied by the man’s sister in the 3700 block of Candlelight Drive, Columbus Police spokesman Lt. Matt Myers said.

Shortly before 8:30 p.m. Sunday, the sister notified police that an argument she had with her brother prompted Foerster to walk out of the trailer with the coatless boy, claiming they would stay out all night, Myers said.

The sister expressed concern because her brother had neither a vehicle for transportation nor another place for his child to stay, the officer said.

While police were initially unable to locate the father and son walking in the Candlelight Village area, they eventually were able to track them down by tracing signals sent by Foerster’s cellphone, Myers said.

That led officers to a vacant and unheated mobile home being remodeled about a block away from the sister’s residence, where Foerster and the child were found sleeping inside a small bedroom closet, warmed only by two blankets, Myers said.

The officers noted in their report that they could smell the odor of alcohol on Foerster, which supports the sister’s claim that her brother was intoxicated at the time he took the child outside, Myers said.

Foerster was booked into the Bartholomew County Jail on a charge of neglect of a dependent, a Class D felony, and trespassing, a Class A misdemeanor. Bond was set at $15,000 surety or $1,500 cash.

He was released from jail early Wednesday following a 48-hour hold, according to jail officials.

If convicted on the preliminary charges, Foerster could be sentenced to between

6 months and 4 years imprisonment, as well as fines of up to $15,000.

The office of Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash will determine what formal charges, if any, are filed.

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