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Arrest After Mother Leaves 4‑Year Old in Gas Station Bathroom for Hours

April 27, 2016

JOSHUA TREE, Calif – On Tuesday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m., Morongo Basin Sheriff's Department deputies responded to the Valero Gas Station at 61794 Twentynine Palms Hwy in Joshua Tree regarding a four‑year old female left in the restroom at the business. During the investigation deputies spoke to witnesses and reviewed store security video and learned the child was at the business with at least three adults and several other young children at around 5:30 pm. When they left the business, in a black 2000 model Dodge Ram 4 door truck, the 4 year old child was left behind in the restroom.

The child wasn’t discovered until about 7:30 pm when the Sheriff’s Department was called. At the time, deputies could not identify the adults and the four‑year old child could only give the first names of her mother and father. The child was in good health and turned over to the custody of Children Family Services (CFS) pending the location of the parents.

At about 10:30 pm, nearly five hours after she was left at the business, Nichole Pederson (age 36 of Joshua Tree) called the Valero Gas Station inquiring about her lost child. A deputy was able to locate Nichole. Additionally, several locations were checked in a failed attempt to conduct a welfare check on Nichole’s five other children; however Nichole would not lead deputies to their location. Through additional investigation, it was learned that the father of the four‑year old was also present at the Valero Gas Station and was identified as Robbie Pederson.

On Wednesday, April 27, at about 4:30 a.m., a deputy received information as to the location of the five children. The children were located and CFS was contacted to take them into protective custody. Robbie was not located with the children.

Nichole Pederson was arrested for Felony Child Endangerment and booked into the Morongo Basin jail in lieu of $100,000.00 bail. An arrest warrant for Robbie Pederson will be sought through the District Attorney’s office for the same charge.

Persons charged with a crime are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at

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