Irvine officers shortly after 1 p.m. responded to assist campus police after witnesses saw an 11-month-old girl left alone in a parking lot and couldn't find any adults claiming responsibility for her, Lt. Bill Whalen said.
While the girl was not in a vehicle, she was strapped into a car seat, Whalen said.
The girl appeared to be in good health, but as a precaution, police called the Orange County Fire Authority to examine her. They took the girl to Hoag Hospital in Irvine before releasing her into protective custody.
As Irvine authorities attempted to find the girl's parents, her father contacted the Costa Mesa Police Department to file a missing persons report.
Irvine detectives found and interviewed both the girl's parents. Her father, who authorities identified as Jason Buchea, 33, of Costa Mesa, was arrested on suspicion of willful cruelty to a child, a felony.
Buchea is a teacher at Irvine Valley College, police said, while the girl's mother is enrolled as a student. Both were reportedly involved in some sort of carpool arrangement, Whalen said.
Police did not comment on Buchea's explanation for why the child was left at the campus.
(In the IVC directory, Buchea is listed as a “project specialist” with “Fine Arts Productions.” --RB)