Residents of Marietta have been watching their spending throughout the economic crisis, but it is safe to say that very few have thought of walking out the door, abandoning their families and never looking back. Many Georgians may find it horrifying to even consider leaving children alone and defenseless, but one man has done just that. A single-father walked out on his 11-year-old son and drove across the country because of his financial problems.

The 60-year-old father had legal and physical custody over his son since the child’s was 1 year old. Although the father had also told him that his mother died years ago, the woman was alive, but the father was hesitant to include her in their son’s life as he felt she was a bad role model. The mother lost her visitation privileges in 2002 after failing to use them.

After waking up in mid-July, the 11-year-old could not find his father, but found a letter in which he explained that he had left and that he wasn’t going to return. The man told his son that he was unable to find a job and that his financial troubles were driving him out of the home and out of the state. He instructed his son to go to the neighbors and give them a sealed letter that asked them to care for the boy.

Police eventually tracked the man to Cambria, California, where he had found a job in a deli. Police arrested him and took him to a local jail to await extradition to Minnesota on charges of gross misdemeanor child neglect.

It is unclear what will happen to the 11-year-old. He does not know where his mother is and his father will potentially spend time behind bars for child neglect. His neighbors initially cared for him after his father left, but he has recently been living with an aunt.

Source: Star Tribune, “Lakeville dad accused of abandoning his 11-year-old son arrested in California,” Mary Lynn Smith, Aug. 30, 2011