Mother Arrested After 5-Year-Old was Left Unattended for Over 24 Hours
On July 23, 2022, around 7:00 p.m., the Santa Barbara Police Combined Communications Center received a call about a potential childhood endangerment case. Officers responded to a residence in the 800 block of Highland Drive to investigate.
Officers arrived and contacted the reporting party, a babysitter who had arrived at the residence to look after a five-year-old child. When the babysitter arrived, they found the child alone and unattended in the home. The mother was nowhere to be found. The babysitter also observed a “ghost gun” handgun with ammunition on the kitchen counter and another “ghost gun” in the bedroom. Both guns were easily accessible to the child.
The babysitter immediately contacted 9-1-1 to report this unusual incident. When officers arrived, they learned the babysitter was hired through a childcare website. The babysitter expected to meet the child’s guardian and was extremely surprised to find the child unattended upon arrival.
Officers learned the child had been left unattended for over 24 hours in the home without food. Detectives were notified and assisted with the case by obtaining an authorized search warrant from a judge.
Officers were able to obtain information regarding the mother's current location. When located, the mother was intoxicated and placed under arrest. The arrest occurred at a residence in the 1100 block of Cliff Drive around 8:30 p.m. She was identified as Lauren Tracy, a 46-year-old Mammoth Lakes resident.
Unfortunately, Tracy was the only family member available in town, and no other adults were with the child. Child Protective Services responded to care for the five-year-old. Tracy was booked in the Santa Barbara County Jail on multiple felonies; child endangerment, possession of undetectable “ghost guns,” possession of a firearm with a prior misdemeanor conviction, unlawful possession of ammunition, child neglect, and criminal storage of a firearm. Tracy’s bail was set at $100,000.