Detectives: Camera catches parents abandon 2-year-old at gas station
A man who drove to a Gig Harbor-area gas station with his 2-year-old daughter and abandoned her and the car has been sentenced.
As part of negotiations with Pierce County prosecutors, Joseph Norman Blanchette, 45, pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment.
Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend on Oct. 26 gave him a low-end sentence of nine months, which is what the prosecution and defense agreed to recommend.
Blanchette also must get a drug and alcohol evaluation, and do any recommended treatment. In addition, he is not allowed to have contact with his daughter for five years.
His attorney declined to comment about the case.
According to charging papers:
Surveillance video from Nov. 13, 2016, showed the girl’s mother running across the parking lot of the gas station in the 14300 block of Purdy Drive Nothwest, near the Purdy Spit.
She told investigators she jumped out of the car at a red light, when Blanchette allegedly became violent after he found out she’d hugged another man, who was a friend.
She said she didn’t think the child would be in danger with her father.
Then the footage shows Blanchette driving up, parking by the pumps and walking away — leaving the key in the ignition, and the girl in the back.
The child can be seen climbing into the front seat to play, then falling asleep in the back. At one point, she tries to pull on one of the door handles.
She was by herself for more than 40 minutes before police arrived, and contacted Child Protective Services.