Law & Order

BOY LEFT ALONE, MOM ARRESTED: Turlock police arrested a mother of five after firefighters responding to a small blaze at her home found her 5-year-old son home alone, officials reported Friday. Evangeline Cortez, 33, was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment. Child Protective Services took custody of all five children and placed them with a family, said Turlock police Lt. Ron Reid. About 1:45 p.m. Friday, a lamp started the small fire in the 100 block of West Minnesota Avenue. The fire caused little damage and no injuries. Firefighters found the boy alone and an "unkempt house," Reid said. The police investigation found that Cortez often left the boy at home at about 1 p.m. so she could work. Her other children, ages 7 to 14, returned home from school about 3 p.m.

GROPING SUSPECT ARRESTED AGAIN: A man Modesto police arrested Thursday, in connection with the groping of a 15-year-old at a bus stop, was rearrested Friday on suspicion of felony sexual battery when a second potential victim came forward, officials reported. The 21-year-old Modesto woman saw Ray Allen Beaty's picture in the newspaper and reported to police that he fondled her breast over her clothing in February. Three people reportedly witnessed the incident, which occurred in the 1000 block of 12th Street about 4:45 p.m., police reported. The victim reported the incident when it happened; her description of the man who grabbed her and his car were similar to Beaty and his car, police said. Beaty, 21, was booked at Stanislaus County Jail on Thursday, with bail set at $5,000, after police connected him to an incident last week during which a 15-year-old Downey High School girl said she was groped as she waited at an east Modesto bus stop. Beaty was released later that day. Police arrested him Friday at his apartment in the 1800 block of Coffee Road. His bail was set at $25,000, but detectives sought a bail enhancement and a judge increased it to $50,000. He remained in jail Friday night.

SHOOTING VICTIM STABLE: A 58-year-old Modesto man who was shot and seriously wounded Thursday afternoon was in stable condition Friday, talking and expected to survive, Modesto police spokesman officer Ivan Valencia reported. The shooting occurred about 1:30 p.m. after a dispute in front of a west Modesto apartment in the 900 block of Colorado Avenue, just south of Figaro Avenue and four blocks south of Tuolumne Boulevard. The circumstances that led to the shooting remained unclear to detectives Friday. Witnesses, including residents who live in the single-story apartments, gave conflicting statements, police said.