Man wakes up in jail and remembers kids left inside truck, Merced police say

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In a dramatic rescue, police in the North Valley were able to save two small children locked inside a truck. (KFSN)

In a dramatic rescue, police in the North Valley were able to save two small children locked inside a truck. Those two little boys are still in the hospital being treated for hypothermia. Merced police say their father, Joshua Jaboneta, remembered the children when he woke up in jail.

Officers say it was Merced homeowners who called for help after finding this man breaking into cars, homes and businesses.

"At one point he ripped a door off its hinges, walked inside one of the apartment complexes and actually physically picked up a woman who was sleeping on the couch, looked at her and said, 'That's not the person I'm looking for,'" said Sgt. Bob Chapman with the Merced Police Department.

They arrested Joshua Jaboneta, took him to jail and went on with their night. The case resurfaced when Jaboneta woke up Wednesday morning.

"It's my understanding that he had been on some kind of a narcotic. When he was coming down off of it, he realized he didn't know where his children were and that he was in jail," said Chapman.

And then Chapman says it was a mad and desperate search to find those kids. The entire force went looking in alleyways and through neighborhoods. A unique decal on the back of Jaboneta's truck helped them spot the pickup and the two young boys.

"The 3-year-old knew his name, knew his brother's name. They were in good condition but they were extremely cold, and they were like popsicles when we touched them," said Chapman.

It took officers only a few minutes to track them down, but the boys had been there nearly 12 hours -- locked in their car seats with the windows rolled down.

"We were so elated that they were in the car and that they were alive and that they were well," said Chapman. "I've been here for almost 22 years and that was one of the biggest sighs of relief that I've ever had in my career."

Now the two boys are in the hospital. Wednesday afternoon, they still needed warming blankets to bring their temperatures up. Once they're released from the hospital, they will be turned over to Child Protective Services.

The kids' father is facing felony charges.

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