The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office Juvenile Division began an investigation in December 2015 after receiving a complaint from the Department of Children and Family Services of possible child neglect, according to Major Kevin Hanna. A subsequent investigation led to the arrest of a Gonzales man on Monday, February 1.

During the course of the investigation detectives learned that a nine-year-old juvenile had been hospitalized and treated in September 2015 for burns to his upper body. The child was burnt after he lit a “single popcorn kernel” with a cigarette lighter causing the kernel to pop in his hand and catching his shirt on fire.

The juvenile was released from the hospital in October and was in the care of and resided with his father, later identified as 30-year-old Joseph Babin. After his release from the hospital, the child never showed for his follow up appointments as instructed by the doctor. Several attempts were made by the hospital to contact the child and Joseph Babin but were unsuccessful. The Sheriff’s Office was alerted after the hospital reported the case to the Department of Children and Family Services.

On December 10 the child’s mother picked him up to spend time with him when she discovered the wound was severely infected. She brought the child to the hospital where medical personnel immediately discovered that the child’s burn wound appeared to have not been cared for since the juvenile was released from the hospital in October, Hanna says.

Juvenile detectives obtained an arrest warrant on the child’s father, Joseph Babin, for one count of 2nd degree cruelty to a juvenile. When detectives went to Babin’s home to arrest him they were unsuccessful in locating him.

On Monday, February 1, following an extensive two month search, Babin was located at a home on Norwood Road where he was arrested with assistance of the U.S. Marshal’s Service. He was booked into the Ascension Parish Jail where his bond was set at $50,000 by Judge Turner.