Father charged with neglecting his three children
Appeal Staff Writer
A Carson City father was in custody Thursday and his three children, blistered from the sun and hungry, were returned to their mother Wednesday, after deputies learned the homeless youngsters had been living on C Hill for about a week.
Brian Hammon, 33, an unemployed equipment operator, was booked into the Carson City Jail on suspicion of three gross misdemeanor counts of child neglect.
According to Detective Dena Lacy, Hammon and his estranged wife are in the process of a divorce and had verbally agreed to share custody of the children, ages 9, 5 and 4.
In May, Hammon allegedly refused to return the children to their mother because he did not like her new boyfriend.
Twice the mother allegedly contacted Hammon at a local motel. When she went back a third time, Hammon had checked out of the motel and had removed the children from school, Lacy said.
Deputies were called out to Kings Canyon Road and Kingview Lane about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday after witnesses reporting seeing a man pulling a child into the hills.
When officers arrived, they located Hammon a mile-and-a-half up the hill carrying one of his sons.
“I saw two other children about 100 yards from (Hammon). One child was 100 yards east and the other child was 100 yards south,” wrote Deputy Sal Acosta in his report.
A 4-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy were shirtless and wearing shorts and shoes, and a 9-year-old boy was also shirtless wearing pants and shoes, Acosta wrote.
“I saw severe sunburns on the backs, chest area and shoulder areas of the children. I saw the children had severe chapped lips,” Acosta wrote. “The children did not remember when was the last time they ate or drank water.”
He went on to note the temperature on Wednesday was 92 degrees and the area was without shade or water.
Lacy said that when the children were questioned back at the station, she learned the 4-year-old had been left on the hill with the 9-year-old for about six hours, while their 5-year-old brother had gone with their father to register a vehicle on Wednesday.
Hammon allegedly told investigators he had been “camping” with the kids since June 1, sharing between them a tent and two blankets.
She said the children told her they were fed dry soup which they moistened with water they collected from a stream an hour away.
“They split two bags of ‘Top Ramen’ a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner between the four of them,” Lacy said.
She said the children were so hungry when they got to the Sheriff’s Department, the trio finished off an extra-large pepperoni and pineapple pizza detectives ordered for them.
The Division of Child and Family Services took custody of the children and applied aloe vera to their burns, then located the mother, Lacy said.
Lacy said Hammon told investigators he was collecting about $340 in unemployment per week and he was trying to save money for a move to California where he had a job lined up.
“He said he could not afford a motel room and to register his car to move to California. So he decided to ‘camp’ with his children,” Lacy said. “But the kids did not like camping with their dad, they were excited to go back to their mom’s house where they could sleep in a bed and get out of the heat.”
Hammon is being held on $50,000 bail.
• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.