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Dad leaves son in Nephi with no shoes and socks after misreading directions

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Posted at 5:29 PM, Nov 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-08 19:29:24-05

JUAB COUNTY, Utah — A father is in custody after leaving his son at a Nehpi gas station with no shoes or socks after the boy misread directions to a marijuana dispensary.

Mark Yates, 49, faces charges of child abandonment and reckless endangerment.

The crying 13-year-old was located Tuesday by a Juab County deputy who had been dispatched to the gas station. The boy was found wearing only a pair of shorts and t-shirt.

The boy told the deputy Yates had left him at the gas station after the father told his son "he was too much and needed a break from him." Despite leaving him behind, the boy would not divulge his father's name as he was worried he would get in trouble.

Police say the boy said he was not from the area and his closest family member was his mother in Louisiana. When contacted, the mother was unsure if Yates had a phone and that she only calls her son to make sure the boy was "ok."

The mother said she and Yates had been separated for five years and share custody of their son.

A Spanish Fork police officer later found Yates and reported the man was possibly drunk or under the influence.

After being taken to the police station, the boy said he and his father do not have a home and drive from state-to-state while living in their van. The boy added that Yates abandoned him after becoming upset when he gave wrong directions to a marijuana shop.

Yates was taken into custody and transported to Utah County Jail and being held without bail.