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

A worker at Fairpoint Communications on Appleton Street downtown saw the 2-year-old around 8:30 a.m. at the corner of Appleton and Hathaway streets, said Deputy police Chief Charles Rumsey.

The 27-month old, dressed in a T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, was not wearing a jacket, he said. It was about 40 degrees out at the time.

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 Cheerios and let him look on the computer.”

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.

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 were fairly confident the child did not live in a dangerous situation. Apparently, the boy got out of his crib, changed out of his pajamas and into other clothes and left the apartment building.

He was found wearing slip-on sneakers with no laces, and his jeans were not buttoned or zipped, according to police. He also was not wearing socks.

“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 had wandered about 150 feet when 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. They “just kept at it until they were able to find the mother.”

He said police needed to make sure everything was OK with the boy’s parents as well — that they had not had some type of medical emergency and were unable to care for him. “We’re lucky it was a happy ending to the story.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

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