A missing 8-year-old girl had Phoenix police digging through dumpsters and frantically searching neighborhoods on Monday.
The little girl was later found safe, but police said the girl’s guardian could have — but didn’t — report her missing almost two full day’s earlier.
The mother of Timgoy Dak left her boyfriend in charge of the kids while she went on a trip to Africa. The boyfriend, Myok Nyuon, said that he left Dak’s 15-year-old sibling in charge while he was at work on Saturday.
On Tuesday, Nyuon told ABC15 that he understands why people are upset.
“Yeah, because she’s a little girl and she was missing,” Nyuon said.
Reporter Jason Volentine asked Nyuon if he understood it was his responsibility to make sure the girl was safe.
“Yes,” Nyuon said.
Nyuon explained that he didn’t see Dak Saturday after he got home from work, but assumed she was outside playing with friends. He went to bed Saturday night without seeing the girl and still didn’t know where she was when he woke up for work Sunday morning.
“When I go to work I didn't see her," he said. "So by the time I come back I thought maybe she might come back."
Nyuon finally started searching for Dak when he got home from work Sunday afternoon and called police around 6 o'clock on Sunday night. He didn’t call sooner because he said it’s not unusual for Dak to fall asleep when playing with friends in other apartments around the complex.
Police questioned Nyuon about the situation while searching for the missing little girl.
“He did a little bit of diligence, but I think most people would agree minimal and probably not enough,” said Sgt. Jonathan Howard, Phoenix Police Department.
Police found Dak swimming with a friend at a nearby apartment complex around 1:00 Monday afternoon. They didn’t charge Nyuon, but did turn the girl over to the Arizona Department of Child Safety.
Nyuon said Dak’s mother is due back from Africa on Wednesday and has been told about the situation with DCS.