Friday, October 24, 2014

Ottawa father of boy who wandered into street fighting to see sons again

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 7/31/2013

A 28-year-old Ottawa man who was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment will be allowed to see his two young children, while awaiting the outcome of his case.

Judge Kevin Kimball said Wednesday morning he would allow Justin L. Vogeler to have “supervised visits” with his 2-year-old and 6-month-old sons. Vogeler was arrested and his children were taken away from him July 24 when an Ottawa resident found his unsupervised 2-year-old boy in the street at the intersection of East Fifth and South Mulberry streets and called Ottawa police.

A 28-year-old Ottawa man who was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment will be allowed to see his two young children, while awaiting the outcome of his case.

Judge Kevin Kimball said Wednesday morning he would allow Justin L. Vogeler to have “supervised visits” with his 2-year-old and 6-month-old sons. Vogeler was arrested and his children were taken away from him July 24 when an Ottawa resident found his unsupervised 2-year-old boy in the street at the intersection of East Fifth and South Mulberry streets and called Ottawa police.

Vogeler said a “lack of communication” about who was to be watching his two young children led to his 2-year-old son wandering away from their Ottawa home in the 500 block of South Sycamore Street.

Bryan Hastert, Vogeler’s defense attorney, asked Judge Kimball to allow Vogeler to see his children. The father has had no contact with his two boys since the incident occurred a week ago and the children were taken into protective police custody. James Ward, assistant Franklin County prosecutor, said he had no objection to granting Vogeler supervised visits with his children. Authorities have not disclosed where the children are being cared for in the interim.

Hastert asked that Vogeler’s arraignment Wednesday morning be continued because he was still awaiting some “discovery” reports. Discovery is a legal mechanism designed for gathering information about parties in a case.

Kimball granted Hastert’s request and set Vogeler’s arraignment for 8:45 a.m. Aug. 14 in Franklin County District Court, 301 S. Main St., Ottawa.

After the boy was discovered in the street, Ottawa police officers and detectives determined the boy walked away from a house in the 500 block of South Sycamore Street — about a block from where the child was located, Capt. Adam Weingartner, with the Ottawa Police Department, said July 24.

An adult roommate of the father’s was in the home and asleep when the child wandered off, Weingartner said.

The roommate was unaware the child and a 6-month-old infant boy were at the residence and did not know one of the children had left, Weingartner said, adding the roommate was not considered a suspect.

Police have not released the identities of the roommate, the children or the mother of the children.

The Franklin County Attorney’s office has charged Vogeler with one misdemeanor count of endangering a child. Vogeler is free on a $5,000 surety bond awaiting his next court appearance.

Vogeler, however, has not been able to return to his home because he is under a court order not to have contact with his roommate, who Ward described Wednesday as a “key witness in the state’s case” against Vogeler.

Kimball said he would take Ward’s objection to granting Vogeler access to his home under advisement. The no-contact order will remain in place until the judge makes a new ruling in the case.

Vogeler was at work when the incident occurred July 24, he told authorities.

“I entrusted my kids to a close relative of mine,” Vogeler said in a posting on The Herald’s Facebook site. “As he left to go to his place of employment, he assumed my roommate was aware I wasn’t there. My roommate was awake and alert at that time. He knew the kids were there, but was unaware that he was the only adult, so he went to his room to sleep after a long day’s work. He watches them for me from time to time and my relative thought it was my roommate’s turn, just didn’t say it out loud — but neither did I. I was at work, thinking the kids are in great hands.”

Vogeler said he was grateful his son was not hurt.

“The events that happened are extremely scary to me,” he wrote. “So many bad things could have happened.”

Because of a breakdown in communication and a mistake that “really should have never ever happened,” Vogeler said, “My kids were taken away from me. I was arrested for child endangerment and thrown in jail. I had everything important to me taken away, and my kids lost everything they knew as well.”

comments powered by Disqus