Black said 19-year-old Henry Lee Liggens Jr. of 1215 West Walnut St. was arrested last Thursday and charged with child desertion after he left an infant in the car and went into GQ Fashions, a clothing store located on East Madison. Black said he's not sure what good Samaritan called in the incident, but they must have acted quickly because Liggens was only in the store two minutes after police arrived.
“They located Liggens still in the store,” Black said.
Black said he is unsure if the infant was Liggens' child, but he knows the child wasn't harmed.
“It was cool that day, but I'm not sure what the temperature was inside the car,” he said.
According to the arrest records, Liggens was not taken into custody, therefore he wasn't booked in at the Morehouse Parish Jail. Instead, he was issued an arrest summons that allowed him to leave the scene after officers questioned him.
Black said the child desertion charge that Liggens received was not a felony, but rather a misdemeanor. Situations similar to this have been deemed felonies, but the arresting officer who assesses the scene determines what charges the suspect should receive.
Child desertion, under Criminal Law 14:93.2.1, states that it is the intentional or criminally negligent exposure of a child under the age of 10 years, by a person who has the care, custody or control of the child.
Black said Liggens' charge coincides with the incident at hand. If he is found guilty, he could be fined up to to $500 and imprisoned for not less than 30 days or more than six months.
If the infant in the car had been injured, Liggens could have received a sterner charge, such as cruelty to a juvenile, which can carry a fine of $1,000 or imprisoned not more than ten years.