A father is facing three felonies after lighting his car on fire with himself and his toddler daughter inside.
McLennan Community College Police found the car in a parking lot around 12:20 a.m. on Thursday. A mystery began unfolding after MCC police officers found a Toyota on fire.
In the front seat was a toddler, while in the truck was Jacob Laskowski, a student at MCC.
“One of our police officers was making a routine check of our parking lots, and he found a car here in Parking Lot I,” says MCC Director of Marketing and Communications Lisa Elliott.
When the officers called for backup – Waco Police, McLennan County deputies and Waco Fire all came running.
Elliott says, “This police officer was doing a tremendous job by just making sure that he stopped to check out this car, otherwise it would have been a much different story.”
One report says Laskowski locked himself in the trunk and started the fire using lighter fluid and charcoal, possibly trying to commit suicide.
The reports also stated a woman might have been with Laskowski, but wasn’t present at the scene.
“They called the helicopter unit to come out and search the areas around the parking lot just in case there was anyone else that needed help that might be in those areas,” Elliott says.
MCC Police still don’t know where she is and haven’t released her name.
Elliott says, “Both the man and the toddler were taken in to be observed to make sure they were alright, and then they were released.”
Laskowski is in the McLennan County Jail, while Child Protective Services is caring for the toddler.
“We do feel like it was an isolated incident, so we don’t expect anything else to happen on our campus like that,” Elliott describes.
Below is the previous text from this story:
A man has now been booked into the McLennan County Jail in connection with an overnight incident in which a baby was found in a car in MCC Parking Lot “I”, with a fire set in the trunk.
The man recovered from the trunk of the car has been identified as 24-Jacob Russell Laskowski who was taken into custody by MCC Campus Police.
He was identified as the father
He is being held on charges of Injury to a Child by Smoke Inhalation, Abandoning or Endangering a Child and Aggravated Assault With Intent to Cause Death.
Bond had not been set by mid day Thursday.
The child, who is a two-and-a-half-year-old girl, was reported to be in the care of Child Protective Services.
A mystery began unfolding early Thursday morning with the finding of a baby in a car with a man and a small fire in the trunk.
An MCC spokesperson said an officer of the campus police on patrol about midnight found a car in Parking Lot “I” near the old Art Center building with an infant locked inside.
Fire was reported in the vehicle and the Waco Fire Department was called.
The fire department reports that when they arrived the infant was safely out of the car and a man was in handcuffs.
Firefighters were told that after the officer had gotten the child out of the car, he noticed smoke coming from the locked trunk.
Other personnel on the scene forced the trunk open and got the man out.
The fire department report indicates that the man appeared to have locked himself in the trunk and started the fire using lighter fluid and charcoal.
When fire units arrived they found police officers and ambulance personnel had taken the burning material out of the trunk and placed it out in the parking lot.
The fire report indicates a woman might have been with the man but was not present at the scene, with firefighters assisting campus police in searching the area using their thermal imaging camera to search around the parking lot, but they found nothing and cleared the scene just before 1:45 a.m. Thursday.
McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara confirmed that the McLennan County Sheriff’s helicopter had also been launched to check the wooded area around campus but found nothing.
It was confirmed that the man recovered from the trunk of the car is an MCC student, is currently enrolled and working on an Associate of Science degree.
Both the child and the man were checked out medically and determined to be unharmed.
The case remained under investigation Thursday morning.