Minn. dad who abandoned son arrested in California

12:41 PM, Aug 30, 2011   |    comments
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LAKEVILLE, Minn. -- A father accused of abandoning his 11-year-old son in Minnesota has been arrested in California.

Steven Alexander Cross, 60, was arrested Monday afternoon in Cambria, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department said in a statement. A sheriff's patrol deputy spotted Cross' Ford Windstar van and arrested him without resistance.

Sheriff's spokesman Rob Bryn told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Cross appeared to be living in his van and that authorities tracked him down after a tip that he was working in a deli in Cambria, some 30 miles north of San Luis Obispo.

Cross, of Lakeville, Minn., is wanted on a warrant for gross misdemeanor child neglect.

The boy awoke at their Lakeville home July 18 to discover Cross had gone, leaving two letters. One said their home, some 25 miles south of Minneapolis, was going to be sold at a sheriff's sale and instructed the boy to take his PlayStation and go to a neighbor's house. The other asked those neighbors to take care of his son.

The child is now living with an aunt.

The 11-year-old told police he didn't notice his father acting any differently on the night before he vanished. The boy also told a social worker he knew little about his family and that his father had told him his mother was dead. In one of the letters, Cross told his son his mother was still alive.

Cross, a licensed architect, was awarded legal custody of the boy in 2001, according to a warrant complaint seeking his arrest.

The mother, identified as Katik Porter in a child protection petition, received visitation privileges but apparently never used them. Those privileges were suspended in 2002.

(Copyright 2011 by the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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