Des Moines Couple With Baby In Unheated Garage Arrested


Officials respond to a report of a baby in a garage Thursday in Des Moines. (image via KCCI-TV)


By Richard Pratt

DES MOINES, Iowa —Des Moines police have released new details after officers rescued a baby found living in a garage.

Police said a tip came shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday about a young couple with a 9-month-old baby living in an unheated garage in the 3000 block of Kinsey Avenue in east Des Moines.

When police arrived, they found 22-year-old Justin Sorter and 23-year-old Danae Haynes in the garage with a baby. Police said there was a small space heater, but said it was still very cold in the garage. There was a tent set up and a playpen as well.

Investigators at the scene say they didn't know how long they had been in the garage, but the family was found alongside all their belongings.

According to a new police report, officers found the garage to be in “terrible condition with random junk and trash strewn about.”

Officers said the couple had placed a space heater and blankets inside of a tent within the garage, a serious fire hazard. Police also said the child had no proper sleeping area to ensure its safety.

Police said they found pipes used for smoking narcotics, and K2, a synthetic narcotic, in the garage. According to police, Sorter told police he had “smoked a bowl of K2 with the past half hour."

The police report also shows officers also found a large hunting knife with a fixed blade next to where the child was sleeping.

The child was turned over to workers from the Department of Human Services, while Sorter and Haynes were arrested and charged with child endangerment and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A police sergeant on scene said it appeared the couple weren't allowed in the house next to the garage when the homeowner was gone. The resident told police the family couldn't stay in her house and she had told them earlier to go to a homeless shelter.
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