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Police Seek Man Who Left Baby With Stranger

October 20, 1998|SOLOMON MOORE

Police are looking for a 25-year-old man who left his daughter with a stranger early Monday morning while he went looking for cocaine, authorities said.

The father, identified as Ray Luna, left the child with a man he had just met in line at a mini-mart in the 9100 block of Sepulveda Boulevard at about 1:20 a.m., police said.

"The father asked a male if he would watch the 10-month-old girl while the father scored some dope," said Sgt. Dan Mastro of the Los Angeles Police Department's Devonshire station. "When the father didn't return after 30 minutes, he called the police. Nothing ceases to amaze me in this job."

The baby was taken to Northridge Hospital Medical Center, where she was found to be in good health, and placed in protective custody with the Department of Children and Family Services. The baby remained with social workers pending further investigation, even though her mother--whom police refused to identify--was found Monday evening.

Police said the father struck up a conversation with a man at the minimarket Sunday night at about 11 p.m.

"They briefly talked and agreed to go to another location to obtain" a pipe used to smoke rock cocaine, said Officer Jason Lee, an LAPD spokesman. The two men--and the infant girl--drove around for almost two hours in the father's car, a late-model Honda Accord, without finding a pipe, Lee said.

At about 1 a.m. the father dropped his newfound friend off near the mini-mart and asked him to watch his child for 15 minutes while he went to purchase cocaine, Lee said. After 30 minutes there was still no sign of the girl's father.

Police were unable to identify the infant or the father. The baby was described as a Latina with brown hair and eyes, and she was wearing a pink dress. The father is 5 feet 4, about 200 pounds and 25 years old.

If arrested, the father could face charges of child endangerment and abandonment, Mastro said.

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