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Father arrested after leaving 3-year-old daughter in shed

A Merced man was arrested and charged with child endangerment Saturday after he ran off into a field with his 3-year-old daughter, the Merced County Sheriff's Department said.

Deputies Steve Bassi found the girl alone in a shed next to a vacant house after her mother reported that the father, Lekxai Soulanone, refused to give her back. The mother made arrangements to let Soulanone, her ex-boyfriend, see his daughter for the day, but when she went to pick the girl up, Soulanone took off through a field, carrying the child.

After a search, Bassi and Robinson found the girl crying in a dark shed. She was returned to her mother. A short while later, deputies found Soulanone lying on his stomach in a nearby yard.

He remains in Merced County Jail.

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