The 2-year-old boy – carrying a marijuana pipe, lighter and knife – was wandering alone outside a Tacoma apartment complex.
His big sister, who was looking after him while her parents were gone, assured neighbors he was OK.
She even opened the door of their home to show a neighbor that her 1-year-old brother was safe upstairs with the family’s pit bull.
The neighbor called police.
On Friday, Pierce County prosecutors charged Julio Salazar, 33, and Ann Rogers, 28, with three counts of abandonment of a dependent person. Both pleaded not guilty and were ordered jailed in lieu of $150,000 bail.
Superior Court Judge Edmund Murphy ordered the couple to have no contact with each other or the children.
Rogers cried after the judge issued the order.
Child Protective Services took the three children – a 7-year-old girl and two boys, ages 1 and 2 – out of the home.
The agency is investigating a separate neglect/abuse case against Rogers, according to charging papers.
The boy was spotted Thursday morning at Orchard Hills apartment complex, 5701 Orchard St. His sister girl “told police she was a good babysitter and had done it before,” court records state.
Salazar and Rogers came home while police were there and insisted they’d been gone only a few minutes to pick up a prescription.