A California man was arrested after authorities found his son tied to a tree while the man was asleep nearby.
Jeffrey Wilson, 27, was detained by police after they found Wilson's 2-year-old son tied to a tree in the encampment in which the family was staying near Willits in Mendocino County, according to KTVU. Wilson is homeless and had created makeshift shelter for himself and three other family members off a local highway.
Police were called to investigate Wilson and his family, which includes his son, the son's mother and the boy's grandmother. The Wilsons had created an encampment on private property and the owner called police several times to report them.
When authorities arrived, they found the boy tied to a tree while Wilson slept on the ground just a few feet away, according to The Press Democrat. One end of a rope was tied to the boy's wrist with the other end to a tree branch, effectively restricting the boy's movement.
Police said that when they arrived they found the boy without food, water or other necessities. He was also in arms' reach of several weapons that could pose a threat to his health, as well as stranded without protection from the elements.
Wilson is being held on suspicion of felony child abuse, possession of a controlled substance and trespassing. It was not immediately clear what substance Wilson possessed at the time of the arrest.
Deputies had visited Wilson's encampment before at the request of the property owner, instructing him and his family members to clean up and leave. According to KRCR, the property owner placed a citizen's' arrest against Wilson and held him until police arrived.
Child Protective Services took custody of the child and Animal Control was also called to help detain the two animals that were loose in the encampment.
According to the California Penal Code cited by the Kraut Law Group, it is a crime to enter or remain on private property without permission. There are more than 30 separate types of trespassing punishable in California, all of which essentially state that an individual must leave private property once instructed to do so.
Common trespassing is usually handled as a misdemeanor. Six months in prison, a fine up to $1,000 and probation determined fair by a judge are all common sentences in California.
Los Angeles began policing homelessness as a crime in 2014 in an effort to trim down the roughly 9,500 homeless people living in the city, according to The Intercept.