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Man arrested for desertion after child's disappearance

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GONZALES - Police arrested a Gonzales man after they said he passed out while watching a young child, then reported her missing when he woke up and found she wasn't there.

Officers charged John Peppers Jr., 24, of Gonzales with child desertion after the 6-year-old girl was found at a friend of her family's house last night.

"He had a previous injury that day, which resulted in him being prescribed some pain meds, he took some pain meds, while he was in charge and care of this child and laid down and fell asleep," said Sgt. Steven Nethken with Gonzales Police.

Sgt. Nethken said the girl's mother, 20-year-old Krissa Donaldson, left her in Peppers' care Thursday afternoon. 

Peppers called police, who brought in K9 units, search teams and a Baton Rouge Police helicopter. Before calling police, Peppers asked for help from the pastor of church nearby.

"The gentleman came in, I could see his heart was devastated, I mean it was a scary time, it was really scary wondering where this little girl was, and my heart went out for the guy, I could see how much he was hurting," said Rev. Jonathan Kern with St. James Lutheran Church.

Investigators later found the child with a friend of the family, who said they came by Peppers' place and found him "passed out" and couldn't wake him up.

Police arrested Peppers and cited Donaldson for one count of improper supervision of a minor by parent.

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