State to handle toddler case | SteamboatToday.com

State to handle toddler case

Sheriff’s Office: Nothing criminal with child found near road

Zach Fridell

— The decision about whether to pursue criminal charges against the woman who was taking care of the 2-year-old boy found by the side of U.S. Highway 40 last month now will go to the state's Department of Human Services.

Hayden resident Tim Red­mond spotted the boy May 24 about two miles east of town, walking on the side of the road in a storm.

He was apparently under the care of Hayden resident Amanda Rider at the time.

Routt County Sheriff's Of­­fice Deputy Paul Yonekawa said he turned over the results of his investigation, without expressing an opinion about possible charges, to state authorities.

Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Mellisa Baumgartner said the state Department of Human Services and its Division of Child Care can decide whether to investigate Rider's possible child care facility, but there were no obvious violations of the law.

"We didn't find anything criminal for us to instantly enforce," she said.

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Baumgartner said the boy's family also did not want to press charges.

If the state decides to go ahead with charges relating to the operation of a child care center, the Sheriff's Office will turn the case with the charges over to the Routt County District Attorney's Office.

Yonekawa said he heard many positive comments about Rider during his investigation.

"The one thing I did hear consistently from other witnesses I talked to were people who knew the woman … said they really like her," he said. "I think this was a situation where a kid got out of control only because he's very experienced at it and likes to run."

He said he has been out of town but has not heard back from any of the state agencies yet.

Yonekawa said he did not investigate whether Rider was operating as a day care provider, but he said he did not find a child care provider's license. He said that if the state decides to investigate and determines that the facility is an unlicensed child care provider, state agents could simply help the provider get a license.

Rider is not listed on a state directory of licensed child care providers. A phone number listed for Rider was disconnected Wednesday afternoon.

— To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com