Gainesville man charged with child abuse for leaving boy outside bar

Published: Monday, March 1, 2010 at 8:40 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 1, 2010 at 8:40 a.m.

A Gainesville man was arrested for child abuse after allegedly leaving a 12-year old boy wearing a T-shirt and shorts in a van outside a bar Sunday night. The temperature had fallen into the low 50s and the van was not running, police said.

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James Walker Byars


James Walker Byars, 49, was charged with child abuse by Gainesville Police when the boy was found shortly after 9 p.m. He had been inside a van that was parked outside JR's Lounge at 4401 N.W. 6th St. A patron inside the bar reportedly told police that the boy was going to drive Byars and two other bar patrons home when they left the lounge.

According to an arrest report written by Officer Joseph B. Duelz, Byars had a blood alcohol level of .231, nearly three times the .08 level at which someone is presumed to be drunk in Florida.

Duelz said the boy was unsupervised and in danger due to the cold weather. The officer also wrote in his report that Byars was "Planning on staying at the bar for an unspecified about of time," and that Byars told the boy "To lay down and not to speak with anyone."

The boy was turned over to the care of a relative and Byars was booked into the Alachua County Jail.

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