"Passed out" godfather charged in missing child investigation

John Peppers Jr. (Source: Gonzales Police Department)
John Peppers Jr. (Source: Gonzales Police Department)

GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - An investigation into a reported missing little girl who was later found with a family friend has resulted in the arrest of the man who was taking care of the child and a summons being issued to her mother.

The Gonzales Police Department reported John Peppers Jr., 24, of Gonzales, was booked into the Ascension Parish Prison on one count of child desertion. Krissa Donaldson, 20, of Belle Rose, was issued a summons for one count of improper supervision of a minor by parent.

According to investigators, Donaldson dropped off her 6-year-old daughter around 4 p.m. Thursday for Peppers, identified as the child's godfather, to babysit because she had to go to a training class for work. Police said Peppers called them around 5:45 p.m. to report the child missing. They added he told them he had not seen her in over an hour.

A search of the immediate area began for the missing girl, but turned up no signs of her. Other agencies were called in to assist, including the Baton Rouge Police Department Air Assets. GPD reported Donaldson said she received a call from Peppers around 6 p.m. in which he asked if she had gone to pick up the little girl and told her he could not find the child.

Detectives said their investigation turned up information that Peppers had fallen asleep after Donaldson left the 6-year-old with him and it was after he woke up that he couldn't find her. The little girl was eventually found with a family friend.

Investigators reported the friend of the family told them they had showed up at the home and the child wanted to leave from there. According to reports, the friend said Peppers was "passed out" on the couch and could not be awakened.

Sgt. Steve Nethken with the Gonzales Police Department wouldn't comment directly on the reason why the child's mother was issued a summons, but did say according to statue LRS 14:92.2, the law defines criminal negligence on behalf of parent or custodian in allowing their minor child to associate with a person of certain histories; known to that the parent or guardian

The following agencies also assisted in the search for the child:

Gonzales Fire Department

Hunts Correctional K-9 Officers

Ascension Parish OEP

Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office

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