Florida man allegedly left toddler daughter outside during tropical storm

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JASPER, Fl. (WCTV) -- A Florida father has been charged with child cruelty after his 19-month-old daughter was left outside during Tropical Storm Irma.

The little girl’s father, 36-year-old Angelo Mitchell, was arrested Monday.

According to the arrest report, the girl’s mother called police early Monday to the family’s home near the corner of 11th Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive in Jasper, Florida.

She told investigators Mitchell left the house with the toddler in his car at about 11 o’clock the night before.

The mother told investigators when Mitchell came back to the house about two hours later, he didn’t have the little girl with him. He told the toddler’s mother he’d left her at the house and never had her, according to the arrest report.

Officers and deputies searched the area and used a tracking dog to try to find the child, but came up empty.

Under questioning by investigators, Mitchell insisted his daughter was safe, was never with him, and must be with a family friend.

The arrest report says Mitchell admitted having several drinks while his daughter was in his care, and officers could smell alcohol on his breath and person. Officers arrested him on child cruelty charges while the little girl was still missing.

Monday morning, around 11:30, a passerby discovered the child, lying in the yard of a home about 400-500 yards from her house.

The sheriff says the 19-month-old suffered the whole night through the storm, exposed to the wind and rain, and was purple in color.

Witnesses tell WCTV the child was also covered in scratches and bug bites.

The child was taken to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida for treatment. At this point, there’s no update on her condition.

Department of corrections and Hamilton County, Florida court records show Angelo Mitchell has a prior domestic violence conviction.

He pleaded guilty to felony battery for a 2011 incident in which he violated an order of protection and dragged a woman by her hair.

Mitchell was at first sentenced to just five days in jail but ended up serving a year in prison after violating his probation.

He remains in the Hamilton County Jail.