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3-year-old boy lost by allegedly drunk father in Pasadena is placed in protective custody

October 18, 2010 |  1:57 pm

A 3-year-old boy lost by his allegedly drunk father for more than a day has been placed in the custody of Los Angeles County child welfare authorities, a police spokeswoman said Monday.

Joe Louie Kurihara, 23, of West Covina, was initially arrested on suspicion of public intoxication and resisting arrest.

As he sobered up in jail, Kurihara told police he had been drinking heavily at a wedding and could not find his son, Dylan, said Janet Pope Givens, a spokeswoman for the Pasadena Police Department.

Pasadena resident Rowdy Metzger, 39, found the boy about 10:40 p.m. Sunday strapped into his car seat in his father's car in a parking structure. Dylan was dehydrated and taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital, where doctors found him to be in good health.

Pasadena police then booked Kurihara on suspicion of felony child endangerment.

Los Angeles County prosecutors are expected to file charges Tuesday against Kurihara, who is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail. He has a recent history of misdemeanor arrests.

Police are seeking to question the boy's mother, who lives in the area and is described as Kurihara's on again, off-again girlfriend.

"Since the father was arrested for felony child endangerment, the investigation will continue," Pope Givens said. "Part of the investigation is to determine whether [Dylan] should go back home."

Kurihara and the boy attended a wedding Saturday at a Masonic Lodge in Pasadena.

The boy’s mother also was at the wedding and said she saw Kurihara leave with the boy. When she hadn’t heard from either of them for hours, she began to call police stations and hospitals.

The woman, whose name has not been released, reached the Pasadena police about 8 a.m. Sunday. Her call immediately launched a search for the child and the car.

-- Andrew Blankstein