STOCKTON (CBS13) — A Stockton boy who was living in a homeless encampment with his father is now in CPS custody.
A picture of the boy sitting in dirt inside the camp went viral and sparked a lot of concern in the community.
“I’m extremely hurt because I know what my son’s going through,” said the boy’s father Anthony Whigham.
Five-year-old Suki Whigham was seen Thursday riding his bike around the homeless encampment known as Stockton’s Mormon Slough, where he’s been living with his dad for months.
“What he does have is a roof over his head. The best I could provide him at the time,” said Whigham.
Less than 24 hours later, the young boy was in CPS custody.
“You don’t take away a someone’s child from a loving father that’s struggling very hard to take care of that child,” said Whigham.
Suki became the center of community concern after a photo of him living in squalor went viral on social media. The support quickly started rolling in.
“A lot of people came to me yesterday with help.”
Including from a woman named Andreen Galindo.
“It was just sad. It was heavy on my heart,” said Galindo.
Galindo offered to take the boy in and care for him while Anthony went to work.
“She assured me that everything is going to be fine and she had a child his age and they’d be able to play,” said Whigham.
Galindo says Suki was in good spirits.
“He was totally happy. They played basketball, they colored.”
But after she posted that the boy was safe at her home on social media, she says police and CPS showed up at her door. Galindo admitted she has a criminal background and CPS case against her from 2001.
“That’s the violation they got me with was a person with an old CPS case can’t have someone spend the night there,” said Whigham.
Suki was asleep when CPS took him into custody.
“When he woke up this morning and I wasn’t there, I’m sure that it was very traumatizing for him.”
Whigham says part of the reason he’s on the streets is that many shelters won’t take men and their children. Now his worst fear of being separated from his son has come true.
CPS, as well as the Stockton Police Department, were unable to provide any information.