It's cold in Wisconsin this time of year. Especially at 10:30 in the evening. Dave Mantor apparently forgot that when he entered the Cajun Club Strip Bar, leaving his 18 month old son in the car. "It's the dumbest thing I have ever done".
Dave Mantor has been the topic of conversation for a couple of days in the Midwest. He became news on Thursday morning when the story hit the media that he had been questioned at 12:30 am Wednesday regarding the fact that he was inside the Cajun Club in Hudson, Wisconsin having drinks while his 18 month old son slept in his car seat in the van outside. The temperature that evening dipping into the low 20's.
The child was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital to be checked for possible frostbite. He had been in the van for approximately 2 hours before police arrived. He reportedly suffered no injuries from the event.
Outrage followed, and people were understandably concerned and dismayed as to what sort of judgement would allow a father to leave his son in cold van in the middle of winter while he sat watching naked women dance, enjoying cocktails, for over 2 hours.
In an exclusive interview with Minnesota's KARE 11 NBC affiliate, Mantor told the viewing public that he wanted to tell his side of the story.
Seems Dave is an alcoholic. He has been dry for over 2 years. Unfortunately, due to extreme stress that he says he is currently experiencing, Dave fell off the wagon. He indicated to reporters that he was "taking a drive, trying to calm himself" when he saw the bar sign up ahead. He said he had no intention of visiting a bar, much less a strip club, but he pulled into the parking lot and stepped inside.
"Stress got to me after a while. I thought maybe just to calm down I'd have a couple drinks and then leave quick before he woke up and everything would be fine," Mantor said.
Unfortunately for Dave those couple drinks turned into a couple more, and authorities were alerted to the sleeping toddler and called to the bar to investigate. He was approached by another patron at 12:30 telling him that police were outside and wanted to speak to him.
"It is embarrassing, this isn't me," Mantor said. "I had a mistake one night and now I gotta pay for how long, forever?"
Dave's wife sat lovingly by his side and said she is in full support of her husband.
"I forgive my husband, that is what the Lord wants me to do," Jereme Mantor said.
The couple has already met with a social worker, and it has been determined that the children can stay in the home. Social services will also be visiting with the family in another few weeks to see how things are progressing.
Dave has stated that he will be returning to AA for support in dealing with his relapse.
No charges have been filed as of today, but it is expected that St. Croix County will be charging him with neglect next week.
So, what do you think? Should Dave and his family be allowed to just move on with their lives following this relapse on his part? Is connecting with social services enough, or should he be charged legally with a crime? When investigating this story I found other reports that indicated that Dave had told his wife he was going to the grocery store, and also reported that the toddler had suffered minor frostbite to his hands and face. (Interesting how the story changes depending on who's telling it.)
You can view Dave's exclusive video interview here