A 34-year-old Rice Lake man is facing a felony child neglect charge after a toddler in his care was allegedly seen hanging out of an open third-story apartment window, Barron County Circuit Court records said.
A complaint filed Oct. 22, 2019, identifies the defendant as Joshua J. Robarge, 5 1/2 W. Eau Claire St., Unit 7, Rice Lake.
He was arrested Oct. 17 after Rice Lake police got a call when a witness saw “a toddler whose limbs were hanging out of an open window three stories up.”
When the officer got to the scene, he met a woman outside the building who directed his attention to a third story window.
The officer saw a small child’s playing in the open window. The boy “appeared curious about what was going on below, placing more and more of his body out of the open window,” the complaint said. The officer yelled to try and get the attention of an adult in the apartment, but couldn’t get a response.
Going upstairs, the officer knocked on the apartment door and announced his presence several times, but there was no response. A second officer arrived and notified the first officer that the child was still in the window. The first officer forcibly entered the apartment to find the child with his head, shoulders and arms nearly completely outside the window. The officer grabbed the child and took him off the window sill.
The officer then saw the defendant, sleeping on a nearby couch. But he was unable to awaken the defendant, at first. After he awoke, the defendant allegedly said the child was his son, age 23 months, and that he opened the window for some fresh air before lying on the couch for a nap.
The defendant later allegedly admitted consuming methamphetamine three days before the incident and had used marijuana at 5 a.m. on Oct. 17.
The defendant was arrested. The child’s mother was summoned from her job to care for the child.