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Man charged with neglect after young children leave home alone

A Rochester man will make his first appearance this month in Olmsted County District Court, where he has been charged with two counts of gross misdemeanor neglect of a child.

The charges against Jonathan Lee Kahl, 28, stem from an incident Oct. 3. At about 7:50 that evening, police were called to a home in southeast Rochester for a report of two missing children, ages 3 and 4.

The children's mother said Kahl, the boys' father, dropped her off at an appointment at about 6 p.m.; an hour later, he called and said the children were missing. The woman said she called police right away.

She was "very upset" with Kahl, the report says, and told officers it was the second time he lost the kids. Kahl could "no longer be trusted to watch them," she said.

According to the criminal complaint, the mother said the children "like to leave," so a lock had been installed at the top of the front door; it appeared Kahl hadn't locked it. The woman also claimed Kahl "often goes upstairs and watches TV and doesn't supervise the children," the report says.


Kahl allegedly admitted to police that he was upstairs watching TV and heard the front door open twice. He didn't check on it, though, because he thought it could have been another resident of the house leaving.

An officer spoke with the other resident, who said his personal care attendant was preparing to leave the house about 7 p.m. when she noticed the front door was open and the children were missing. The tenant told Kahl the boys were gone. The PCA had last seen the children at about 6:30 p.m., the complaint says.

At about 8 p.m., police received a call from a couple who had been out walking and found the children, the report says. The couple was alarmed by the appearance of the children, as well as the fact that they were without adults, so they made a call to law enforcement.

According to the complaint, the children were shivering and shaking from the cold, were not dressed properly for the weather and the 3-year-old wasn't wearing shoes or socks.

The boys were returned to their mother.

If convicted, Kahl faces a maximum of a year in jail, a $3,000 fine or both.

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