Man who allegedly abandoned son waives extradition

Steven Cross
Steven Cross

A Minnesota father suspected of abandoning his 11-year-old son prior to his arrest in Cambria on Monday has waived his rights for extradition.

Steven Alexander Cross, 60, will be transported to Minnesota to face criminal allegations there.

He was arrested after the Sheriff's Department received information that he was working at a Cambria deli. A Sheriff’s Department patrol deputy spotted Cross’ van and detained him without resistance.

Cross said he'd lost his job and home in Minnesota and was staying with relatives, but he never mentioned the son he left behind, said Doug Lindsay, a co-owner of the Cambria deli, Soto's Market.

"He just seemed like someone who had lost everything in this economy and was down on his luck," Lindsay said by phone Tuesday.

Cross, an architect from Lakeville, Minn., is charged with a gross misdemeanor count of neglect of a child for allegedly abandoning his son while the boy was sleeping, explaining his reasons for leaving in a letter to the boy and instructing him to take another letter to a neighbor's home.

According to police, that neighbor said the boy rode his bike three blocks to her house on July 18 and arrived in tears, handing her the letters. The letter to the boy said: "If this paper is wet it's because I am crying so bad. You know your dad loves you more than anything." It went on to say that there are no jobs for architects and that sheriff's officials were taking the house.

"There are many many great years ahead of you. Not so for me," Cross allegedly wrote, telling his son to take his PlayStation to the neighbor's house. In the other letter, Cross asked his neighbor and her husband to care for his son, police said.

The neighbor, who did not return a message left by The Associated Press, told police that Cross never asked her to take care of the boy. The boy said he didn't notice anything was wrong with his father the night before Cross left.

Clues on Cross's computer indicated he might have been in California, said Lakeville police Capt. John Arvidson. An ex-girlfriend of Cross also received an email from him, sent from a library in Carmel.

In the email, which was forwarded to police, Cross said he was "scared and hopelessly depressed" and that he probably only had "a couple of days."

Arvidson said authorities then learned Cross might have gotten a job at a deli in Cambria. So a detective began calling every deli in Cambria, until he reached Soto's Market.

San Luis Obispo County sheriff's officials arrested Cross on Monday, and he remained in custody Tuesday, said sheriff's spokesman Rob Bryn.