A town of Madison police officer, doing a routine check of a tavern parking lot after 3 a.m. Saturday, found a 4-month-old baby alone in the back seat of a car with nobody around.
The baby’s father, Brandon J. Kuenzli, 28, of Sun Prairie, was charged Tuesday with child abandonment, a felony, after the officer found the girl in the parking lot of Pitcher’s Pub, 323 W. Beltline Highway. Police broke a window of the car to remove the girl, who was unharmed, and turned her over to her grandfather.
Kuenzli appeared in court Tuesday, where he was ordered jailed on $1,000 bail and was barred from having unsupervised contact with the girl.
According to a criminal complaint:
When Officer James Brown went to the Pitcher’s parking lot at 3:15 a.m., the bar was closed and there were three cars in the parking lot. He saw a Hyundai Sonata, which appeared to be empty, with its running lights on. Looking into the car, Brown saw an infant asleep in a car seat.
The car doors were locked, but the front passenger-side window was open about one inch. Touching the hood, the car was cold and there was dew forming on it.
The car’s registered owner was found to be the baby’s grandfather — the father of the baby’s mother — and with his permission, Brown broke out a window and another officer removed the girl. EMS personnel checked her.
Police called the girl’s mother, who said that her boyfriend, Kuenzli, had dropped her off at work Friday night, and then she believed he was returning home to care for the girl.
Police tried to call Kuenzli, but the person who answered his number hung up after Brown said that the girl was now with her grandparents.
When police made contact with Kuenzli about 10:30 a.m., he made “multiple conflicting statements” about events the night before. In one, he said he was waiting at the bar for a friend to pick him up because he was too drunk to drive, and in another, he said he only stopped at the bar for a few minutes to use the bathroom.