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Stafford County dad charged after toddler wanders off

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By KEITH EPPS

A Stafford County man was charged with a felony Thursday after his 2-year-old daughter was found sitting alone at the edge of a creek wearing no shoes, police said.

Sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy said a search for the little girl began about 2:45 p.m. when a resident on Garrison Woods Drive saw her walking toward his shed. The caller told police that the child fell near his woodpile, then hurriedly got up and rushed back into the woods.

The caller reported that he was going to try to get her to come in out of the cold but lost sight of her.

Deputy Jenna Wojciechowski and Sgt. Darren Volpe responded to the call and began searching for the child. They found tiny footprints in the snow and could tell by the imprint of the toes that the child was barefooted, Kennedy said. They called in additional help at that time and surrounded the area.

The deputies continued following the footprints and shortly after 3 p.m. spotted the child sitting near the creek. The child was frightened and shivering, Kennedy said, but not injured. She was returned to her mother after rescuers warmed her uncovered feet and hands.

Kennedy said the mother had been out running errands for a couple of hours and had left the girl with her father, who until the mother returned home had no idea the child was gone.

The parents quickly searched inside and out before the mother called police, who were already searching for the child at the time.

John Fuller, 28, was later charged with felony child neglect. He was placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail under a $2,000 bond.

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