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Provo woman accused of leaving a toddler in American Fork hotel

police lights emergency cop car

(Brandon Whitworth, KSL TV)



AMERICAN FORK — A Provo woman was booked into jail for investigation of child abuse and drug possession after police say her toddler was found wandering alone outside an American Fork hotel. Investigators said they found drugs inside the child's diaper bag.

Investigators were called to the American Fork Holiday Inn on Saturday after a guest reported seeing the toddler wandering around the pool by himself. Police booking documents said the other guest tried to return the boy to his mother, but eventually called police after waiting 45 minutes.

When officers arrived, they said they "observed that child was wearing dirty clothes, had bruising on his hands and face. I observed what appeared to be a burn on the back of the child's right hand," the affidavit states. Officers also said they saw bruises in the shape of finger marks on both of the boy's forearms as if someone held his arms too tight.

The documents say officers inspected the diaper bag and found a crystal substance in one of the pockets, which was later identified as methamphetamine. Officers also reported finding several syringes in the bag, some of which were used and uncapped.

Police said the boy's mother, Sara Zanger, came back to the hotel and was taken to the police station for questioning. While there, police say she admitted she had used meth and heroin in the bathroom earlier in the day, and the heat from the torch used to use meth was how the boy burned his hand.

"Sara was searched incident to arrest and a syringe with drug residue was located on her person. Sara was transported back to the police department," the affidavit states.

Officers said they didn't feel it was safe to return the boy to his mother, who allegedly claimed that the boy's father was supposed to be watching him.

Zanger was booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of child abuse, reckless endangerment and two counts of drug possession.

Paul Nelson

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