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Man abandons child during traffic stop

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SOUTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - A police manhunt put a quiet South County neighborhood on edge around 1:30 pm  Monday afternoon.

A man abandoned a little boy during a traffic stop in Affton, police said.

The suspect was wanted for a felony warrant.  He took off running and just left the little boy sitting in the car, police said.

It turned out the boy was his own son.

It ended behind Joe Brader’s house on Lawnside Drive about 20 minutes after it started.

Police initially stopped the 30-year-old suspect for a seat belt violation.

Brader, 90, was outside enjoying the sun when police ran right by him and into his back yard.

“I saw 2 police cars.  I come out, and I said now there’s 3-4; by God there were 7 of them out there.  I said, ‘hold on’,” he said.

It was the dramatic end of what started near Weber and New Hampshire as a traffic stop for a seat belt violation.

The suspect immediately ran away leaving his 4-year-old son alone in his girlfriend’s car, police said.

The school resource officer at Affton High School saw the suspect in a wooded area nearby and helped police track him down, police said.

The suspect surrendered peacefully.

“I heard the one cop say, ‘get down, lay down’,” Brader said. “Evidently, he jumped a fence.  He was sprawled out in the back yard.  They handcuffed him.”

Neighbor Janet Harvey watched it all, too.  She said she wasn’t scared.

“No, I had too many police.  I had too many police.  I love them,” Harvey said.

The boy is not hurt.  He's been released to his mother.

The suspect was wanted for felony stealing.   Police are now seeking to add a charge of child endangerment.