WATERVILLE — A toddler found wandering downtown early today is now safe at home, thanks to the efforts of police and the man who found the child and called authorities.

A worker at FairPoint Communications on Appleton Street downtown saw the 2-year-old boy around 8:30 a.m. at the corner of Appleton and Hathaway streets, Deputy police Chief Charles Rumsey said.
The toddler, dressed in a T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, was not wearing a jacket and it was about 40 degrees outside, he said.

Rumsey said the case is unusual in that typically, police get calls about a child missing, but in this case, a child was found and police needed to find his parents.

The boy was taken to the Police Department, where records clerk Judy LaPlante took care of him, Rumsey said.

“Judy did a wonderful job; she got the boy some Cherrios and let him look on the computer.”

Appleton Street connects Front Street to Main Street downtown and then continues past the Waterville Public Library and intersects with Elm Street; Hathaway Street starts on Main Street, north of Appleton and then turns a corner and empties onto Appleton.

Sgt. Alan Main and patrol officers, including Galen Estes and Jen Weaver, canvassed the neighborhood downtown, knocking on doors and showing people a photo of the toddler, Rumsey said.

At about 9:45 a.m., Main knocked on a door at Appleton Apartments on Hathaway Street.

“A woman opened the door and I showed her the photo,” Main recalled. “I asked, ‘Is this your son?’ She said, ‘Yes, it’s Tristan.’ ”

The woman said she did not know her toddler was missing; that she woke up around 7:30 a.m. to get a bottle for a younger child, an infant, according to Main. She told police she assumed her toddler was still sleeping.

Rumsey said police assessed the situation  and were fairly confident the child did not live in a dangerous situation — that the boy got our of his crib, changed out of his pajamas and into other clothes and got out of the apartment building, he said. His father was not home at the time, according to police.

“The mother said this has never happened before and he didn’t have a history of trying to get out of the apartment,” Rumsey said.

The toddler wandered about 150 feet until he was found by the FairPoint employee, Rumsey said.

“He didn’t get far, but certainly, it’s a lucky thing he was spotted by the person who was responsible and a safe person.”

The mother came to the station to retrieve the child, Rumsey said, adding that police did a great job of finding her.

“They were knocking on doors, they were looking in vehicles to see if there were child safety seats in them — just doing anything they could think of to try to locate this family.”

He said police needed to make sure everything was okay with the boy’s parents as well — that they had not had some type of medical emergency and were unable to care for him.

“They (officers) did a wonderful job and just kept at it until they were able to find the mother,” Rumsey said. “We’re lucky it was a happy ending to the story.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]


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