ZIONSVILLE, Ind. -- A police officer bought groceries for a struggling family after a man was arrested for leaving a baby in a cold car.
According to Boone County court documents, Alan Godbey got out of his stalled car in the middle of a Zionsville intersection on Saturday. An officer stopped to check it out and found a baby sleeping in the backseat. At the time, the windchill was below zero.
The baby was still warm and unharmed. About 10 minutes later, Godbey returned to the car, saying he had walked to a nearby neighborhood to try and get gas, despite the fact that he had a cell phone with him.
"He could’ve called for roadside assistance, he could’ve called the police, any number of things he could’ve done," Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer said.
Police arrested Godbey for neglect of a dependent.
After returning the child to its mother, a Zionsville officer found out that Godbey was supposed to be buying groceries and dinner for the family. That officer went to the store and bought pizza and bread for them.
"We have seen an increase in neglect cases," Meyer said.
In fact, since 2013 child neglect cases have nearly tripled in Boone County. That's a trend happening with child neglect and abuse cases statewide.
Tonya Ruble-Richter is one of many people across Indiana who run CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates. The volunteer group helps kids who are in the system for abuse or neglect and last year, they had a waitlist of over 5,000 kids.
"We can’t keep up because the cases are growing faster than our programs can grow," Ruble-Richter said.
She hoped that cases like this can bring awareness to the need for volunteers and for regular people to do more to help. In her region, she's even partnered with companies like Hillenbrand, which spent a month educating employees on the issue and bringing in guest speakers.
"There are lots of things that people can do to help even if they can’t be an advocate," Ruble-Richter said.
For more information on CASA, you can go to the link here.