Milton father pleads guilty to leaving 15-month-old overnight in car in 26-degree weather


A Milton man, whose 15-month-old daughter suffered frostbite and hypothermia after he left her in a car overnight in 26-degree weather, was sentenced Tuesday to a treatment program rather than jail.

Michael Dufour, 29, pleaded guilty to second-degree abandonment of a dependent person and unlawful possession of methamphetamine. As part of the plea deal, Pierce County prosecutors dropped a second-degree criminal mistreatment charge.

Although prosecutors recommended a 12-month sentence, a judge ordered Dufour to spend a year in an alternative outpatient program.

One of Dufour’s friends called police Jan. 9 to report mistreatment of the child.

Officers found Dufour trying to warm his naked daughter with a diarrhea-soaked blanket, according to charging papers.

Doctors at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital said the child suffered minor frostbite to her hands and feet, as well as hypothermia.

Dufour insisted he placed his daughter in her crib but awoke and found her in the front seat of his car. He insisted the girl’s mother set him up, records show.

A friend told police Dufour appeared to be on drugs when he picked up his daughter from the friend’s house, placed her in the front seat and drove off.

Police found Dufour’s car parked in the driveway with two windows down and his wallet outside on the ground, records show.

Child Protective Services took the child from Dufour, but he has been allowed to visit her for a few hours every day.

He underwent drug treatment and completed a parenting program.

“Mr. Dufour is willing to do whatever the Department is asking of him so that he can be reunified with his daughter; he has stated to the social worker that he knows that he messed up, but is more than willing to do what it takes to be a better parent so that something like this will not happen again,” a case worker wrote in a report.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653