Source: The New York Times
Crying out “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy,” the 3-year-old girl walked toward the door of a Subway shop in Harlem, holding a turkey sandwich.
“Go back in. Sit down; I’m coming right back,” he responded from the street, according to Mohammed Rahman, a fruit vendor outside the sandwich shop at 281 St. Nicholas Avenue, near 124th Street.
The man, identified by the police as Stanley Fredrique, 34, did not come back. It was around 11 p.m. on Saturday.
Instead, he left his daughter, who told detectives her name was Natalie, alone in the Subway.
She was later taken to the 26th Precinct police station on West 126th Street by a female customer, said Mondal Dipangkar, 26, who was working at the Subway on Saturday night. The girl was released into the custody of the city’s Administration for Children’s Services.
Mr. Fredrique, of Elmont, N.Y., was charged on Sunday with reckless endangerment, abandonment of a child and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
He has been arrested previously on charges of marijuana possession and criminal possession of a controlled substance, both in 2003, a spokesman for the Police Department said.
Surveillance footage from a store next to the Subway, Candy & Tobacco, showed father and daughter holding hands and walking down the street. In the video, it appears that Mr. Fredrique stopped to greet people he knew outside the store before continuing on with his daughter.
Mr. Dipangkar said he made a footlong turkey sandwich for Mr. Fredrique and his daughter.
“I make a sandwich and I give it to her, the little girl,” he said. By that time, the man had already left, he said.
During her time alone at the restaurant, the girl was not scared and did not cry, Mr. Dipangkar said. “She was strong, this little girl.”
On Sunday morning, Mr. Fredrique woke up from a drunken sleep near Battery Park, he told the police. He could remember that he had been drinking, but not much else, according to officials. He got in a cab to go home and called Natalie’s mother, the police said he told them. She asked him where their daughter was. Panicked, he told the cabdriver to pull over, he told police officers. The driver stopped near two traffic officers on Tillary Street in Brooklyn, and Mr. Fredrique told them he had lost his daughter, the Police Department spokesman said. The officers, aware of the missing girl in the 26th Precinct, escorted Mr. Fredrique back to Harlem, where he was taken into police custody, the spokesman said.
As police officers led Mr. Fredrique from the station house, he repeatedly shouted toward reporters, “I didn’t leave my daughter.”
“You guys don’t know what’s going on in my life,” he added. “You guys are not in my shoes.”