Port Angeles man freed but loses custody

Case dismissed to save child from testifying

PORT ANGELES — A child abandonment charge was dismissed against a man who allegedly left his insulin-dependent son alone and without dinner June 13 before crashing into a parked vehicle and needing to be revived with Narcan.

The dismissal was to shield the 9-year-old boy from testifying, according to Holly McKeen of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

The boy is no longer in Horn’s custody and is living with his mother outside Clallam County, McKeen said Wednesday.

McKeen said she did not know if the mother has sole custody of the boy and that she believes state Child Protective Services was involved in the decision.

McKeen’s motion filed Tuesday in District Court 1 to dismiss the gross misdemeanor charge of third-degree abandonment of a dependent person was approved by Judge Dave Neupert.

McKeen said Wednesday that pursuing the case would have required Horn’s son to testify against his father.

“After speaking with the mother, I felt like dismissing this was in [the boy’s] best interest,” McKeen said.

“He was a necessary party.

“There would have been reasonable doubt without having the child testify.

“It would have had great impact on the child.”

If found guilty, Horn could have been jailed up to 364 days and fined up to $5,000.

Horn crashed his vehicle into a parked vehicle on West 16th Street about a mile from his home at 8:20 p.m. June 13 after he fell asleep at the wheel, he told police.

He was administered Narcan, a medication for reversing opioid overdose at about midnight June 13 while at the Olympic Medical Center emergency room, according to the arrest report.

He also was placed in restraints while “experiencing a reaction to controlled substances,” according to the report.

Horn first told police that his son was home and being supervised by a resident, then said the boy was a passenger in Horn’s vehicle, and identified him as being 8 years old. The report said he was 9.

The boy was diagnosed with diabetes in March and had been administering his own insulin against “prevailing current medical opinion,” according to the report.

After officers arrived at Horn’s apartment at about 1 a.m. June 14, the boy told them he had not administered his insulin because he had not eaten dinner, making him more susceptible to hypoglycemia, according to the report.

While searching the apartment, they found a methamphetamine pipe behind the door of Horn’s bedroom, the report said.

Child Protective Services took immediate custody of the boy.

Horn appeared to pass out during his first District Court hearing June 14, when he was charged with abandonment with Neupert presiding.

Neupert, commenting that Horn appeared to be “under the influence of some substances,” released Horn on his own recognizance but took the unusual step of holding him for 24 hours.

McKeen said she did not see Horn in court Tuesday.

He was represented by Tobin Standley of Clallam Public Defender.


Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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