California man left 7-year-old granddaughter with homeless woman to go drinking: sheriff's office

Jason Warren told deputies he gave a homeless woman $20 to take his granddaughter to a thrift store while he went to a bar.

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Friday, May 10, 2024
Man left granddaughter with homeless woman to go drinking: CA sheriff
Jason Warren allegedly left his 7-year-old granddaughter with Lauren Jope, a homeless woman, to go drinking in Sacramento County, California.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A California man was arrested Monday on suspicion of child endangerment after leaving his granddaughter with a homeless woman to go to a bar, KXTV reported.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Office said around 7:45 p.m. deputies responded to a parking lot of a bar. A caller reported a man was asking people for help because his 7-year-old granddaughter had been kidnapped for human trafficking.

When deputies arrived, the man, later identified as 54-year-old Jason Warren, was "highly intoxicated," according to the sheriff's office.

Warren told deputies he gave a homeless woman $20 to take his granddaughter to a thrift store while he went to a bar. The sheriff's office said he was at the bar for about four hours.

Deputies found surveillance video of a woman, Lauren Jope, leaving with the child. About half an hour into the search, the woman heard the announcements from the sheriff's helicopter and brought the child back to the parking lot.

"After we'd gotten something to eat, we walked back up the hill and all the sudden the helicopter is going around and then attention on the ground, attention on the ground and it says her name and describes me," Jope said.

She confirmed with deputies Warren gave her $20 to take the child to a thrift store.

"I was just walking down the street and this car looked like it was out of gas and was just kinda putting into the parking lot this guy ask me, 'Hey, could you watch my, or can you go into the store with my daughter to buy a pair of shorts?'" Jope said.

She also said he was intoxicated and she didn't think he could take care of a child, so she took the child to her camp to get food.

The child confirmed the woman's account with deputies and wasn't in distress, according to the sheriff's office. The child was medically cleared as a precaution.

The sheriff's office said during the investigation it found the child's aunt had full custody and asked Warren to watch the child because she had to go to work. The child returned home with her aunt.

Warren was arrested and is being accused of felony child endangerment and other charges. He is being held at the Sacramento County Main Jail on $75,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

Jope says she's just thankful she was in his path when he was looking for someone to take care of her.

"I'm glad I was walking when I was cause you know she could have been left with some, some man or you know someone who doesn't want to watch her. Someone that doesn't really care," Jope said.