Father abandons baby near Universal Studios to look for drunken mother
www.orlandosentinel.com – A 4-month-old baby girl is in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families after her father left her alone in her stroller for about two hours Saturday night at Universal Studios, Orlando Police said.
The girl’s father, 29-year-old Charles Gohde, bonded out of the Orange County Jail after he was charged with child neglect without great bodily harm. He is accused of abandoning his infant near the Universal Studio employee parking lot while he searched for her mother.
Police said both Gohde and the mother, Ashley Gaskin, smelled strongly of alcohol and had been drinking.
An off-duty Orlando police officer working at Universal Studios was dispatched to the employee lot just before 10 p.m. Saturday because a woman was trespassing in the lot, according to an incident report.
When the officer arrived, he issued a trespass warning to Gaskin and took her to the security office, reports show.
Gaskin did not mention that her baby might be missing, police said.
Later, Gohde arrived at Universal’s security office and asked Gaskin about the baby.
“He immediately asked Gaskin where their baby was,” according to the report. “Gaskin got hysterical and began crying and yelling, stating “My baby! My baby!”
Gohde ran from the security team toward Caravan Court. He later told officers he ran back to their home to check with a neighbor to see if the child had been left there, the report said.
At about the same time, a Universal employee alerted police that he had found the missing girl crying in her stroller in the bushes, reports show.
“Thankfully, the 4-month old did not sustain any physical injuries after being left alone in these conditions,” said DCF spokeswoman Carrie Hoeppner. “She was taken into protective custody by the Department. . . . Investigators are in contact with the baby’s relatives and are working to determine if family members can safely provide interim care right now.”
The infant was examined and appeared to be healthy but was taken to a nearby hospital for an evaluation, police said.
Gohde told officers that he put the baby in her stroller and left her in the bushes while he searched for Gaskin.
Records show Gohde has several prior arrests, including a 2006 DUI charge.
Gaskin denied to police that she knew her child was or that the baby had been found, according to the report.
It’s unclear why Gohde and Gaskin were separated.