LAKEVILLE, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — A father accused of abandoning his 11-year-old son because his home was in foreclosure has been arrested in a small coastal town in central California and now faces extradition back to Minnesota.
Steven Alexander Cross, 60, was arrested Monday afternoon in Cambria, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. A sheriff’s patrol deputy spotted Cross’ Ford Windstar van and arrested him without resistance, the department said.
He had been missing for six weeks.
The boy awoke at their Lakeville home July 18 to discover Cross had gone, leaving two letters: one said their home, some 25 miles south of Minneapolis, was going to be sold at a sheriff’s sale and instructed the boy to take his PlayStation and go to a neighbor’s house; the other asked the neighbors to take care of his son.
The letters carried suicidal overtones, but Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom said investigators suspected Cross was still alive.
“The police had continued to receive some tips from a former girlfriend about contacts that Mr. Cross had been making,” said Backstrom, “so they did not believe he had killed himself and fortunately that did not occur.”
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Backstrom is now working on extradition to bring Cross home to face a charge of gross misdemeanor child neglect.
Backstrom said if Cross waives extradition he could be returned within 10 days, but if he fights extradition it could take 90 days or so to bring him back to Minnesota.
The child is now living with an aunt.
The 11-year-old told police he didn’t notice his father acting any differently on the night before he vanished. The boy also told a social worker he knew little about his family and that his father had told him his mother was dead. In one of the letters, Cross told his son his mother was still alive.
Cross, a licensed architect, was awarded legal custody of the boy in 2001, according to a warrant complaint seeking his arrest. The mother, identified as Katik Porter in a child protection petition, received visitation privileges but apparently never used them. Those privileges were suspended in 2002.
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