Utah mom arrested after toddler found alone outside American Fork hotel

American Fork Holiday Inn.jpg
Posted at 10:05 AM, Apr 27, 2021

AMERICAN FORK, Utah — A Provo mother was arrested on child abuse and drug charges after her toddler was found alone around an American Fork hotel.

Police say they were called Saturday to the Holiday Inn after being told there was a child running around the hotel with no parents around. When an officer arrived, he found the woman who called police "rocking the toddler to comfort him."

The woman said she first saw the child unattended in the parking lot before being given back to his mother. Ten minutes later, the woman saw the child alone again in the pool area.

After bringing the child to the hotel's front desk, the woman waited 45 minutes before calling police.

Police say the child was "wearing dirty clothes, had bruising on his hands and face." An officer also observed what looked to be a burn on the back of the child's right hand.

Inside a diaper bag found in the lobby that belonged to the parents, police found a small bag that contained methamphetamine, along with uncapped syringes that appeared to have drug residue.

The child's mother, Sara Zanger, arrived around 20 minutes later. Zanger, 32, was arrested, and a search found she was in possession of another syringe.

During an interview at the police department, Zanger admitted she was in a hotel bathroom using meth, and that the child's father was supposed to be watching the toddler. When asked about the burn on her child's hand, Zanger said he was accidentally burned when she was using a butane torch while using drugs.

A drug test showed Zanger was under the influence during her arrest, and admitted to have used meth and heroin the same day.

Zanger was booked into Utah County Jail on child abuse, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, reckless endangerment, and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.