Tow truck driver finds toddler wandering alone on road

January 5, 2010 4:51:18 PM PST
A was child found wandering in the cold, alone in northwest Harris County. A tow truck driver spotted the three-year-old boy overnight and called police. The boy's parents have come forward, but the questions are just starting about how their son wandered away. The child wandered away from an apartment on Ella and ended up about a mile away on Kuykendahl. The boy is said to be very adept at unlocking doors and that's how he made his middle of the night escape with his pet. The boy's parents didn't realize he was missing, we're told, until they woke up this morning. Luckily, someone was looking out for him.

At 2am, a tow truck driver saw a dog on Kuykendahl and hit the brakes just in time.

"I seen a dog running across the street, so I stopped," recalled tow truck driver Barney Cox. "Right after the dog crossed the path in front of my truck, then a little kid run across. I didn't see nobody around, there were no cars around. ... It was just open, traffic, 45 miles per hour and a kid running in the middle of the street."

The three-year-old boy, we're told, had opened the door of his parents' apartment to take the dog he loves outside for a walk. The two walked for a mile in the cold until they were found by Cox.

"A three-year-old gets out of the house." Cox wondered, "At two foot tall, how do you unlock the doors?"

The boy was taken to Child Protective Services, where he was later returned to his parents. The family is home, but Gideon, the dog, is now at Harris County Animal Control, facing an uncertain future. We're told the family will not be picking her up because their son likes taking care of her and might be tempted to wander off on another walk with the pet.

But the story also serves as a warning to parents, say CPS officials, to use deadbolt door locks with keys.

CPS spokesperson Estella Olguin explained, "Keep the key in an area where the child can't reach it or can't get to it. If they're able to maneuver a key and use the key, certainly do whatever is necessary to make sure your children don't get out."

CPS is launching an investigation of the home. There have been no prior complaints against this family involving the child. They may be sent to parenting classes.

Anyone interested in adopting the dog should call Harris County Animal Control at 281-999-3191.