Girl, 3, found wandering Patton Village neighborhood

March 7, 2013 2:04:31 PM PST
Police in Patton Village are trying to figure out how a toddler ended up wandering around a neighborhood all by herself.

The three-year-old girl was discovered around Wednesday afternoon when she walked into a house on Main Street and Long in Patton Village.

It's not clear how long that little girl was alone before she wandered into a neighbor's home. Those neighbors immediately jumped into action but it was hours before her parents were found.

Jackie Fields was with her children when she suddenly had an extra one in her home.

"I came over and said, 'Honey, where's your mommy?' and went outside looking around and sent my sister-in-law looking around," Fields said. "Nobody had lost their little girl, so I called 911."

Patton Village police say they received the 911 call around 2pm. They issued an alert with the little girl's picture, hoping someone would recognize her.

Hours went by and there was no response. Child Protective Services was called to the scene.

Eventually, tips helped investigators identify the girl's parents.

Police say the girl lives at an apartment complex along a very busy road and just down the street from the police department.

"Ultimately, it could've turned out worse than it did today," a Patton Village Police Department officer said. "The child could've been injured, hurt pretty bad. Or who knows, maybe somebody could've came by and picked the child up."

The toddler is safe and her parents have been questioned.

Neighbors say they're relieved the girl's safe but they still have their own questions about how this could happen.

"I'm thankful that she didn't get run over out here," Fields said. "I'm just sorry that had to happen to her."

Patton Viillage police say they also found an 18-month-old in the family's apartment. Both children are in CPS custody and there is an investigation.

Police say they plan to charge the little girl's father with child endangerment. The parents have not yet been identified.
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