Man Charged After Leaving Children in Car While Inquiring About Gym Membership

On September, 19, Berkeley Township Police Det. Joseph Santoro and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Special Victim’s Unit Det. Stephanie Bayha arrested and charged Yordy R. Santanacastillo, 28, of Forked River, NJ, with 2 counts of Fourth Degree Child Abuse.

The investigation initiated on September 9th, 2016, by the partnering Detectives, with assistance from Ocean County Sheriff’s Department CSI, found the defendant was allegedly observed at approximately 4:40 pm by witnesses leaving his two children (ages 1 and 3) unattended in his car for approximately 19 minutes.  The car was parked in the Retro Fitness parking lot on Route 9 in Berkeley with the ignition to the vehicle off while SantaCastillo inquired about a gym membership.  The outdoor air temperature at the time exceeded 90 degrees.  A temperature as high as 97 degrees was recorded on the day of the incident.

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The case was reviewed by Senior Assistant Prosecutor Christine Lento who approved the above charges.  The defendant is released on a summons pending his appearance in Superior Court.

The media and public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that these defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


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