CHICAGO (CBS) — Police in Northwest Indiana are questioning family members of a young boy found wandering alone along a busy road.
CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports from Merrillville.
It took an entire day for a family member to come forward to claim the child who police say is between three and four years old.
Investigators now want to know what took them so long.
It was along a busy stretch of State Road 55 in Merrillville that a woman noticed a young boy wandering alone around 1:00 Wednesday afternoon.
She put the child in her car and called police.
“An officer responded to the scene, recovered the child from her and immediately started canvasing the area, we couldn’t locate anyone missing a child,” says Chief Joe Petruch of the Merrillville Police Department.
“(The) only thing the child could say was one name. It was Gavin,” says Petruch.
That’s not the child’s name and CBS 2 is not identifying him, but police released this picture after no one came forward to claim him.
Many in Merrillville were shocked to hear that more than 24 hours after he was found, the boy remained in child protective custody because his family had not been located.
“For me to be a parent and a grandparent, I would wonder too where my child’s at,” says Gloria Andrews.
“As a parent myself, I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t claim their child,” adds Megan Darnell.
Police says the break came around 1:00 Thursday afternoon when someone saw the child’s picture on Facebook and called his mother to tell her.
“When we contacted the mother, the mother had no idea where the child was at,” says Petruch.
“We’ll conduct a criminal investigation by interviewing everybody with watching the child, see who had last custody of the child and why the child is actually wandering the streets,” he says.
Police believe the child was home alone when he wandered off, but a woman who said she is the child’s grandmother says a 16-year-old relative was supposed to be watching him.
The boy remains in the custody of Child Protective Services.