A Naugatuck father was arrested yesterday when his two young children were found outside in their pajamas, shivering in the freezing cold weather as he slept.
Police went to North Main Street just after 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday to investigate a report of two small children who were outside in their pajamas, "wet and shivering" and had no outer garments on.
It was around 32 degrees and snowing in the area at that time.
Police said the toddlers had been outside for awhile and their hands and faces were red from the cold.
The children's father, Joseph Markey, 26, of North Main Street in Naugatuck, had been sleeping, police said, and they were at the scene for at least 20 to 30 minutes before the father awoke.
Police said Markey's door was unlocked and open and they had to bang on the door to wake him.
He said outside court that he had a migraine and was cuddling with his children, a 4-year-old boy and 2-year-old-girl, which forced him to close his eyes.
"I'm not saying I hold my head high," Markey said. "I am deeply ashamed of it, but the feeling of a cop coming to your door and saying, 'We have your children,' and me being like, 'Wait -- they're not here."
He admitted to falling asleep, but said he is not a negligent parent.
"Playing with them, doing activities with them. This is the first mistake I think I've ever really made as a father ... and now it's just upsetting to me that I could possibly be a felon," Markey said.
Emergency medical services transported the children to a local hospital for evaluation and the state Department of Children and Families was notified.
The children were later released to their mother, who is Markey's fiancee.
"We've made it through four years," Justine Baeder said. "We have our own place. We pay our own bills. I work. He works."
Markey was charged with risk of injury to children and released on a $5,000 surety bond.
He said he is now concerned that his work, that mostly includes school construction, could be in jeopardy.
"With a felony, you can't work those jobs, so basically, the last five years of my life are nothing," he said.
He is due for an appearance at Waterbury Superior Court today.