Wandering toddler reunited with parents

DOVER — The discovery of a 2-year-old boy alone and wandering through a parking lot ended well on Monday morning.

The toddler was safely reunited with his parents after over three hours of separation, police said; the child was found by a Redner’s Warehouse Market employee who was leaving work and heading to her vehicle at approximately 5:30 a.m.

According to authorities, investigation determined that the toddler apparently walked out of a business in the same plaza as Redner’s; the child had been sleeping on a couch with his 26-year-old father, who brought him to the business on Sunday night.

The father called 911 at approximately 7:20 a.m. after realizing his son was missing; he had already searched for the boy and called his 30-year-old wife to see if she had picked him up, the Delaware State Police said.

Responding to the call, arriving troopers searched the area for the parents; the boy’s limited vocabulary hampered efforts for him to identify his parents, police said.

The boy was in good health when located, police said, and he appeared to be happy as he played at Troop 9 in Odessa after transport from the store near Cheswold.

The child was eating snacks as police notified the Division of Family Services and posted information on social media sites and through news outlets.

At just after 9 a.m., the Delaware State Police reported that the parents – Dover residents – had been in contact “and are on their way to be reunited with him.” The child was turned over to his mother after police interviewed his parents.

No charges will be filed, police said.

Police did not release the name of anyone involved in the incident.

According to Redner’s Store Director James Young, the undisclosed worker who found the toddler was unavailable for comment on Monday.

“[Our staff] handled it the way it should and we’re happy to have a positive outcome,” Mr. Young said.

State Police responded to the store at 88 Salt Creek Drive almost immediately after receiving a call.

“They handled it very quickly [after notification],” Mr. Young said.

State Police released information of the child being found at 8:52 a.m., and confirmed the parent’s contact just a few minutes later.

Mr. Young called the incident “a first” and referenced another surprising discovery four years ago involving a reptile. In March 2012, a three-foot long alligator was spotted in a pond behind Redner’s; the alligator was safely captured by Kent County SPCA Animal Control and Division of Fish & Wildlife officers and held for rehabilitation.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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