Father arrested after baby found in parking lot

Police arrested a Costa Mesa man after his daughter was found in a car seat in the parking lot of an Irvine community college.

Jason Richard Buchea, 33, was arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment after passersby spotted the 11-month-old strapped in a car seat in Irvine Valley College's parking lot, according to the Irvine Police Department.

The baby was not in a vehicle, and no adult was nearby claiming responsibility for the child when she was found about 1 p.m. Monday, police said.

The girl appeared to be in good health, and after Orange County Fire Authority paramedics examined her she was taken to Irvine's Hoag Hospital as a precaution, according to police.

Orange County Child Protective Services took custody of the baby after her release from the hospital.

In their investigation, Irvine detectives found that Buchea originally reported the girl missing to Costa Mesa police, who interviewed both parents in Costa Mesa. Ultimately Buchea was arrested and booked into Orange County jail on suspicion of leaving the girl at the school.

Buchea is a "short-term temporary employee" at the college, according to a spokeswoman for the college. His wife is enrolled as a student, according to police.

Initial reports listed Buchea as a teacher, and jail records list him as a music instructor.

He is expected in court Wednesday, according to jail records.

— Lauren Williams

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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