Man runs from authorities, leaving tot behind

February 10, 2010 3:35:17 PM PST
Residents in a northwest Harris County neighborhood locked their doors as authorities with guns and dogs tracked a wanted criminal, and investigators say that man left behind a little girl while on the run. Whitney Wallace, 32, is facing charges of felony child abandonment and felony evading arrest. This afternoon, law enforcement turned a normally quiet neighborhood upside down as they searched long and hard to find him.

SkyEye HD was overhead in a northwest Harris County neighborhood as the manhunt got underway. Residents were warned to stay inside as a K-9 unit was brought in to assist with the search.

Neighbor Wendy Gebhart said, "There's cops and helicopters and, you know, dogs, it was just wow! It made me want to go back in the house and lock the doors."

The trouble started when a Precinct 4 deputy constable stopped Wallace in the Cottage Garden subdivision on suspicion of drinking while driving. Investigators say Wallace, who had an outstanding felony warrant for his arrest, gave the deputy the wrong name and ran, leaving his four-year-old daughter in the SUV all by herself. Our camera captured an open beer can in the front console of the vehicle.

Whitney's wife Jovita Wallace said, "I was astounded. I was actually more shocked than hurt."

Jovita, who's in the process of divorcing her husband, says Wallace called, told her what he had done and urged her to get home. She's thankful their daughter wasn't hurt.

"She's going to ask a million questions about it and it's just something we're going to get through one day at a time," Jovita told Eyewitness News.

Wallace is still on the run. His wife says she has no idea where he might be. The Gulf Coast Violent Offenders task force is now tracking Wallace.