‘I didn’t do anything wrong’: Man accused of paying homeless woman to care for his granddaughter while he went to a bar

SACRAMENTO (KTXL) — A grandfather was arrested on Sunday after reportedly giving a homeless woman $20 to watch his granddaughter while he visited a nearby bar, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office.

Sunday night, deputies responded to reports of a man asking people to help him find his 7-year-old granddaughter who had allegedly been kidnapped.

When deputies met with the man, Jason Warren, they determined him to be “highly intoxicated.” He reportedly told them he had given $20 to a homeless woman to take his granddaughter to a nearby thrift store.

“She was about 28 to 30 years old,” Warren said, describing the woman he spoke to via a prison phone. He agreed to meet with KTXL to talk about the incident. “I knew, I could tell by her character that she seemed like a decent person. I trusted her like I would trust my sister or my cousin.”

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After giving the woman the money, Warren allegedly entered a bar where he stayed for about four hours.

Meanwhile, the woman, whom the sheriff’s office is calling a “guardian angel,” was with his granddaughter. That woman has since been identified as 34-year-old Lauren Jope. She spoke with KTXL on Tuesday.

“I was like, ‘Okay that’s a big thing… you don’t know who I am.’ But I knew that she would be safe with me,” Jope said, explaining her interaction with Warren.

After being called out for the possible kidnapping, the sheriff’s office deployed a helicopter, unmanned aerial systems, and K9 units to help search for Jope and the girl.

Jope said she heard the PA announcements from the helicopter and returned with the girl to the parking lot where she said Warren had given her money to take his grandchild to a nearby thrift store.

“She wasn’t scared at all and it seemed like maybe something that had maybe happened before,” Jope said.

The girl corroborated the woman’s story and was given a medical check by the Sacramento Fire Department as a precaution.

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“This lady comes in, just out of nowhere, and really, for lack of better terms, she’s a guardian angel,” Sgt. Amar Gandhi of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday while describing Jope’s actions.

Warren was arrested and is facing charges of felony child endangerment and other charges. He is facing a $75,000 bail and will appear in court on Wednesday.

When asked by KTXL if he would do this again, Warren said, “Yes I would. I didn’t do anything wrong. Everything I did, I told God about and I said, ‘It’s your will God, not my will. Let your will be done.'”

The child eventually returned home with her aunt, who had full custody of her, after being cleared by Child Protective Services.

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