Police have arrested a man believed to have abandoned his 1-year-old son alone in the woods for at least six hours near an area where a controlled burn was scheduled to take place Thursday.
According to Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. William Bailey, Brandon M. Blouin, 25, of Belpre, Ohio, and an 18-year-old woman had been living in a vehicle off China Hat Road southeast of Bend with their 1-year-old son. Sometime Wednesday night or Thursday morning, the woman left the vehicle “under the influence” and walked into the woods. Sometime later, Blouin took the child and went looking for the woman, who was not identified by authorities.
Blouin is believed to have been under the influence of a controlled substance when he put the boy down in the forest and walked away, according to the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office was called about 6:15 a.m. Thursday after Blouin walked to a house off Sholes Road and asked to call police.
The sheriff’s office took to social media for help locating the child, whom they identified on Twitter as Bradley Michael Thomas. Agencies that sent units to assist included the sheriff’s office, Crook County Search and Rescue and the Oregon National Guard. They were assisted by wildland firefighters who were preparing to perform a controlled burn between 9 and 10 a.m.
“They were able to shift gears and assist with the search,” Bailey said.
Deschutes County 911 also called and alerted residents in the area.
At 12:11 p.m., Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Detective Doug Jackson found Bradley “nude and laying in the dirt,” Bailey said.
The mother of the child has not been charged with any offenses.
“Based on our investigation, it appears the male was responsible for the child while the mother was away,” Bailey said.
Blouin was arrested on suspicion of first-degree criminal mistreatment, second-degree child neglect and endangering the welfare of a minor. Bailey said an assault charge would likely be added but he didn’t yet know what degree.
Blouin was in police custody at St. Charles Bend late Thursday afternoon.
According to the National Weather Service, the overnight low temperature in the Bend area was 43 degrees.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, firstname.lastname@example.org