Missing 6-year-old girl found OK with family friend

A man was arrested Thursday night after he allegedly passed out on his couch and lost track of the 6-year-old girl he was caring for at the request of her mother.

John Peppers Jr., 24, of 1327 E. La. 30, Gonzales, was booked into the Ascension Parish Jail on one count of child desertion after he woke up and couldn’t find the girl, who later was discovered in the company of a family friend, Gonzales Police Department spokesman Sgt. Steven Nethken said in a news release Friday.

The girl’s mother, 20-year-old Krissa Donaldson of 6727 La. 996, Belle Rose, told detectives that she dropped the girl off with Peppers around 4 p.m. Thursday so she could attend training for work. Peppers called Donaldson about two hours later, informing her that he could not find her daughter.

Nethken said the investigation determined that Peppers had fallen asleep after the girl arrived at his home. The family friend told authorities that Peppers was “passed out” on the couch and that the girl wanted to leave.

In addition to Gonzales police officers, personnel with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, Gonzales Fire Department, Ascension Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness, Baton Rouge Police Department and Hunt Correctional Center joined in a search for the girl.

“Considerable resources had been mobilized to assist in the location of this child, and we are grateful that the final outcome was what it was,” Nethken said.

While Peppers was booked into jail for his role in the child’s disappearance, Donaldson received a misdemeanor summons for improper supervision of a minor by a parent.