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Man Charged With Abandoning Boy

December 27, 1997

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ An 18-year-old man with a history of emotional problems is accused of stealing his cousin’s car while her 2-year-old son was inside it and then abandoning the boy alongside a highway in near-freezing cold.

Rich Reginald Blackwell was charged Friday with kidnapping and child abuse and was jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Blackwell had accompanied his cousin and her son to a post office near Los Angeles International Airport, police said. When she couldn’t find a parking spot, she asked him to drive around the building while she went inside.

She came outside to find her car missing _ and no sign or Blackwell or her son, Jonathan Thomas.

A truck driver found the boy early Tuesday morning near a truck stop along Interstate 5. His mother’s cellular phone number was written on a napkin and stuffed into a pocket of his clothing.

Jonathan was treated at a hospital for exposure and then reunited with his mother, Kendra Hughes.

Blackwell, who police said has a history of emotional problems, was arrested shortly afterward.

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