Police: Child found in middle of street
A toddler was found running on a road in southeast Cape Coral alone and unattended Sunday morning, according to a police report.
Richard and Sandra Papp were driving westbound on Southeast Seventh Street at about 9:23 a.m. when they noticed the child in street in the 500 block, according to the report. The child was fully clothed and was wearing shoes that were tied.
“It’s a very busy street, and we saw this little boy running toward us in the middle of the road,” Sandra Papp said Tuesday. “My husband swung the car around and I ran out and grabbed the kid.”
The child, a boy who looked about 2 or 3 years old, was crying and would not talk to the Papps. Papp, a grandmother of an 11-year-old, said she played a game with the child to calm him down, and then the couple called the police.
“He’d been out to Santa Barbara (Boulevard) if we let him go,” she said.
Papp added that she and her husband were not the only motorists on the road who noticed the child.
“One guy went around him and kept going,” she said. “He didn’t go back to get him.”
According to the report, the police conducted a neighborhood canvass and located the home where the child came from. The toddler had apparently been dropped off with his aunt to be baby-sat while his mother went to work. The mother had dropped off all her children that morning to be looked after.
Police reported that the aunt appeared to have just woken up, and she said she was sleeping. She spoke “very little English” and was unable to explain to the officers who was supposed to be watching the child or why he was able to get out and run down the street.
The boy’s mother told police that the older children had planned to go to church, and she seemed surprised that the youngest was left at the home.
No other children were present during the investigation, the report states. A video game system was connected to the living room television and turned on with the introduction to a game playing on loop. The kitchen appeared to be well stocked and was generally clean.
The child’s mother and aunt were unable for comment Tuesday.
“I hope that other people see this and do the same thing to save a child’s life,” Sandra Papp said. “So many children get grabbed because people ignore them.”
Police reported that the child did not display any visible injury or trauma.
The Department of Children and Families was contacted and an agent took a report, the report states. DCF spokeswoman Erin Gillespie confirmed that the agency is investigating the case. The investigation could take about 60 days, and there is no prior history with DCF regarding the child and mother.