Florida man charged with child neglect for leaving 10-year-old in parking lot after getting sick in his car

Christopher Griffis, 31, was arrested and charged with four counts of child neglect after leaving a 10-year-old in a parking lot alone for 15 minutes because the child allegedly threw up in the car. (Photo: St. Johns County Sheriff's Office)

A 31-year-old Florida man was arrested for abandoning a 10-year-old child in a parking lot after the boy became sick in his vehicle. According to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, the man, Christopher Griffis, has been charged with four counts of child neglect following the incident.

News4Jax reports that the child was left alone in the parking lot for 15 minutes, during which a FedEx driver, who witnessed the scene, stayed with him and phoned the police. The driver told deputies that Griffis cursed at the 10-year-old and then kicked him out for throwing up in Griffis' Kia Soul.

When Griffis returned to the parking lot, along with three other children who were in the vehicle ages 1, 5, and 7, deputies were at the scene with the FedEx driver.

Deputies approached the car, which was pulling a boat on a trailer, and informed Griffis that they were investigating the juvenile being left alone in a parking lot. Griffis allegedly responded by rolling up his windows and yelling that the responding officers were holding the child "hostage."

According to the police report, the children inside the vehicle started to scream and cry. One deputy asked a child to unlock the door, and the child nodded "yes." However, as the child attempted to unlock the vehicle, Griffis allegedly put the car in reverse and accelerated and then hit his breaks, causing his tires to screech.

Griffis then sped forward through a parking lot near a daycare and ran a stop sign — again, leaving behind the 10-year-old.

According to the sheriff's office, "detectives were able to contact Griffis, who discussed his actions, but would not meet with them. Late Thursday afternoon, deputies learned of Griffis’ location where another disturbance was occurring and arrested him for the aforementioned charges."

He was arrested and booked into the St. Johns County Jail. In addition to being charged with four counts of child neglect, he has also been charged with resisting arrest without violence and reckless driving.

Griffis shared a comment on the St. Johns County Sherriff's Office post that included his mugshot. "I am not a perfect person. To those that think I messed up, I agree. I never should have gotten mad at him or left him at all. I regret it. I hugged and apologized to him and my other babies before I turned myself over to authorities," he wrote. "I love my children and I would sacrifice my everything for them. There is a lot to the story that was omitted. I am ashamed of my actions. I only ask for my children's and my communities forgiveness. I love you. Please forgive me. I will be taking parenting classes and continuing with my therapy. I am a loving father that needs guidance and a hard working man. I love my children. They are all I have in this world."

According to Griffis, who claims to be a single father, he left his child in the parking lot of his school while he went inside for cleaning supplies. "There was vomit on the seat so I didn't want him to sit back down in it," Griffis explained in a Facebook post, adding, "The other seats were clean and he wasn't so I didn't want him to sit in those. I didn't think it was a big deal to leave a 10 year old outside of his school to get cleaning supplies."

"My life has been turned upside down,” Griffis shared. “I've been publicly embarrassed, slandered and lynched. I didn't deserve to be slandered like this."

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