A Gallatin man has been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after police say he picked up a runaway juvenile who was reported missing Monday morning and failed to notify law enforcement.
Gallatin police responded to the Stoneridge apartment complex on Nashville Pike around 7 a.m. Monday in reference to a 12-year-old boy with autism who had run away sometime overnight, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Gallatin News.
The child was eventually found safe more than eight hours later after he was returned to the apartment complex by Kevin Cortes at approximately 3:40 p.m., according to police. The 20-year-old stated he had picked up the runaway after seeing him walking along the road around 4:30 a.m.
“Cortes acknowledged that he realized the subject was a juvenile, but did not call the police,” Investigator Charles Cook with the Gallatin Police Department wrote in the affidavit. “Cortes then stated that he took the runaway juvenile to his (Maple Street) residence and let him sleep in his bed, fed him and allowed him to take a shower.
“Cortes did not realize that (the apartment complex) is where the subject ran away from, he was just letting him out where he requested.”
Before he was located, more than 100 volunteers joined with law enforcement from multiple different local and state agencies in searching the nearby area for the missing child Monday. An endangered child alert was also issued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
“It was very overwhelming and humbling to see folks showing up to help in any form or fashion,” Gallatin Police Chief Don Bandy said about the community response. “We were very grateful and pleased with that response and even more so that the young man was found, and he is okay.”
In addition to one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, Kevin Cortes is also charged with driving on a suspended license. He is scheduled to appear in Sumner County General Sessions Court on Nov. 4.