DALE, Texas - The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office says a 3-year-old boy was found alone in a wooded area two days after he was reported missing and documents obtained by FOX 7 Austin reveal the events leading up to how it happened.
Officials say on either Friday or Saturday, the boy was with his mother's boyfriend 27-year-old Jesus Rochel and the toddler’s brothers. It was said Rochel and the kids were taking a trip to the store, and it was unclear how the child ended up alone in the woods until documents given to FOX 7 by the Caldwell County Justice Center revealed it all.
The document says that while Rochel was driving to the store, he became distracted and bumped into the car in front of him.
“Mr. Rochel stated he believed he was being pursued by the other vehicle and he then pulled into a business and got out with both children and walked into the woods,” documents said.
The report goes on to say Rochel recalls the children were crying and he started yelling at the kids to keep quiet.
“Mr. Rochel stated that he didn’t and he and [the 5-year-old child] walked off, leaving [the 3-year-old child] behind,” documents said.
The document says Rochel passed out in a nearby ravine in the woods only to be woken up by the 5-year-old who was cold. He then began to look for the 3-year-old, but couldn’t find him.
The Caldwell County Sheriff told FOX 7 Austin that the toddler was found by Austin Police on Tracor Lane sitting by a tree.
“[The 3-year-old boy] had minor scratches, a fever, and insect bites on his face and neck,” documents said. The boy was taken to a nearby hospital to be checked out.
His mother, 32-year-old Vanessa Soto, and Rochel are currently behind bars in Caldwell County.
Soto is charged with providing a false report to a peace officer. Rochel had a warrant out for assault family violence in Travis County. He is also being charged with assault on a public servant.
The sheriff told FOX 7 Austin the pair are expected to have more charges filed against them.