Ohio Dad Loses Job, Arrested After Son Skips Church to Play in Neighborhood

Police in Blanchester, Ohio, arrested a dad for endangering the life of his eight-year-old son, who missed his church van and was later found playing in a neighbourhood. The dad also lost his job after local newspapers reported on the incident.

Jeffrey Williamson says he didn't know that his son Justin didn't get on the bus that came from the Woodville Baptist Church to pick up his children, according to a local television station, WCPO.

While his siblings went to church in the bus, Justin quietly went to play in the neighborhood.

But that doesn't mean police should make an arrest, Williamson argued. "It's ridiculous to me that I was arrested for this," he was quoted as saying.

Justin reached a Family Dollar store on a busy road about a half mile from home. Police were called, and a customer helped them locate Williamson's house. Police claim Justin didn't know where he lives.

"That's definitely totally, totally untrue. He knows his way around this whole neighborhood right here," the dad said. "I told the cop he goes out in the neighborhood and plays every day with all the other kids. There's a million kids around here that play. I know the parents. The parents know me."

Police arrested Williamson, who could be charged with child endangering.

Blanchester Police Chief Scott Reinbolt told the Wilmington News Journal that Williamson argued the store where his son was found is "only four blocks away" from home.

McDonald's, where Williamson worked, reportedly fired him the following day after the local newspapers featured the news on the front page.

Williamson has found a new employment, but still doesn't think his termination was justifiable.

He also complains that his children are traumatized from his arrest.

"Every time that we leave in our car or drive down the street or something like that, every time they see a cop in Blanchester, they freak out and say, 'Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, are they going to arrest you?'" said Williamson, who will have to appear in Clinton County Municipal Court July 15.

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