Following a heated argument, an Arizona father reportedly stranded his 10-year-old daughter in the desert without any shoes or water.
Christopher Charles Watson, 28, admitted to the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office that he left his daughter in the desert near Kingman, Arizona, according to KPNX. A woman walking her dog in the area found the 10-year-old girl standing in her pajamas, crying. The woman drove the girl to her home, where she called the police.
The young girl, who remains unidentified as she is a minor, told investigators that her father became enraged when she put a pen in the "wrong spot."
"She placed the pen in the driver’s seat, and he wanted it in a certain spot and apparently she didn’t put it in the correct spot," Trish Carter of the Mojave County Sheriff's Office told People. "She said he got angry with her and he put her in the car and drove at a high rate of speed onto a dirt road into the desert."
Carter then reportedly forced his daughter out of the car, causing her to hit her head while reaching for the door handle. She was left walking around the desert without shoes or water for 30 minutes before she was found by the dog walker. The temperature at the time was 91 degrees.
"It is fortunate this kid didn’t end up in the wrong hands of someone," said Carter. "There are many predators out there these days. Luckily we didn’t have a major, sad ending."
The girl was taken to the hospital for a checkup but was released without injury.
Deputies confronted Watson at his home, where the 28-year-old confirmed that he was having an "ongoing argument" with his daughter, saying that he took her in his car for a drive in order to calm her down, according to KPNX. He claims that after leaving her in the desert, he waited 15 minutes before starting to look for her. When he couldn't find her, he drove home to take a nap.
Officers say that they had to wake Watson and that he smelled of alcohol.
Watson was arrested on one count of child abuse and was taken to the Mohave County Jail, where he awaits a court hearing. His daughter, as well as his 9-year-old son, have been placed under custody of the Department of Child Safety.