Cops: Drunk Florida man locks 18-month-old child in car, forgets where car is

Justin Miante, Manatee County Jail booking photo
Justin Miante, Manatee County Jail booking photo

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida man is accused of leaving his 18-month-old child alone in a locked car while he went drinking at a tap room on Christmas Eve.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies say Justin Miante, 30, was with his mother, his girlfriend Danielle Judd, and their young child at The Mall at University Town Center. Investigators say Miante was heavily intoxicated and got into an argument with his girlfriend. He then left his girlfriend and his mom at the mall.

Judd drove Miante’s mother home and then waited for Miante to come home, but he never arrived. She then received a phone call from someone who told her that Miante was extremely intoxicated and was attempting to leave Linksters Tap Room with their baby in the car.

Investigators say Judd drove to Linksters Tap Room, which is located at 8201 Cooper Creek Blvd. near The Mall at University Town Center. The couple then began arguing. Deputies arrived around 8 p.m. to find someone had separated the arguing couple.

During the investigation, it was discovered that the couple’s 18-month-old child was unaccounted for. An arrest affidavit said that Miante claimed that his girlfriend had the toddler and Judd claimed Miante had left Sarasota with the child.

“Due to Justin’s intoxication level, he could not recall where he had parked his vehicle or where his child was,” deputies wrote in the arrest affidavit.

Deputies say they interviewed several witnesses then discovered that the child had been left unattended in the non-running, locked vehicle for 20 to 30 minutes while Miante was drinking a shot inside the bar.

Deputies arrested Miante on charges of child neglect and domestic battery. He was released from the Manatee County Jail after posting $4,000 bond.

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