Lakeville man who abandoned his 11-year-old son last month has been found alive and arrested in Cambria, CA, about 127-miles up the coast from Santa Barbara.
60-year-old Steven Cross had been listed as an ‘endangered missing person’ because of the desperate nature and contents of letters he left behind for his son and a neighbor.
Cross’ 11-year-old son woke up July 18 to find his father gone and a note telling him to get his Playstation and go to the neighbors. A second letter asked the neighbor to take care of his son.
In the letter, Cross talked about how his Lakeville home was in foreclosure and was going to be sold at a sheriff’s sale on July 27. He wrote “There are many, many great years ahead for you. Not so for me.”
A San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s deputy spotted Cross’ Ford WIndstar van Monday while on patrol in Cambria and took him into custody without incident.
Detectives found information on his computer leading them to believe he had booked a three-day stay in Morro Bay in Central California. An ex-girlfriend of Cross’ told investigators she received an email from him sent from a library in Carmel, California saying he was depressed and sleeping in the streets.
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff officials say they had canvassed the area last week looking for Cross, but turned up no sign of him.
According to a criminal complaint, Cross has been charged with gross misdemeanor child neglect. California officials say additional felony fraud charges are pending against Cross.
His son was placed in protective custody shortly after his father fled, but prosecutors say he was going to be permanently placed with relatives.
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“Some good news is your mother is still alive. Though I do not think it is for the best,” Cross wrote in one of the letters.The boy’s 38-year-old mother, Katik Kristina Porter, did not come forward last month when children’s services was searching for her.
However, this week she contacted Dakota County attorney James Backstrom.”The boy’s mother has been in contact with Dakota County child protection in connection with this case… Her parental rights to this boy were never terminated in a court,” said attorney Backstrom.
Attempts to reach Porter were unsuccessful. Her visitation rights were suspended in 2002, according to court documents. ABC Affiliate KSTP reported that the boy told a neighbor that he hadn’t seen his mom since he was 2 and believed she was dead.
The boy is currently staying with a relative while child protective services determine who will get custody of the boy.