Mother reunited with toddler found wandering along busy street

HANAHAN, SC (WCSC) - The passerby who spotted a toddler walking along Remount Road Wednesday morning during rush hour says she couldn't believe what she was seeing.

"It's a scary feeling to know that what could have happened had nobody stopped," Jessica Freeman said.

Freeman had just dropped her son off at the babysitter's when she saw the toddler walking without shoes in the rain. He was spotted near a convenience store at the intersection of Attaway and Sumner at approximately 8:30 a.m., according to an incident report.

"People were swerving around the child, who stepped in the road a few times," she said. "So I just thought, 'He is way too little, this is a busy part of town, it's raining.' I thought someone had to stop and do something"

She says she took the child to her babysitter to change his dirty diaper and put some dry clothes on him. Then she went door-to-door looking for the boys family. Out of options, she went to the police, all the while deeply concerned.

"Fear. Just an immediate gut feeling because I have a child that is that age and the number of people going by without a second glance at that and just pure fear just afraid for the child," Freeman said.

The child was running a slight fever and was transported to MUSC, the report states.

The North Charleston Police Department responded to the situation at 9 a.m. Police were able to locate the toddler's home because it was apparently not the first time he had been found wandering, the report states.

The officer made contact with the boy's mother, who said she had just woken up and discovered the boy was missing.

The state's Department of Social Services was notified of the incident, the report states.

Hanahan Deputy Police Chief Michael Fowler says you should call 911 if you ever see a child wandering without an adult.

"Try to stay in the area," he said. "If you were to approach the child and pick them up and put them in the car or lead them away it could lead to a misunderstanding. Somebody might be under the impression you're trying to abduct the child and you run the risk of a negative encounter with law enforcement."

Fowler says fire stations are always places of haven. He also recommends child safety locks on doors in your home.

"If you have young small children and you worry about them opening the door and you're going to take a nap or do something where you're not physically monitoring them, there's simple things you can do to put things on the doors where it makes it hard for a small hand to manipulate a doorknob to open the door," he said.

The incident remains under investigation. No charges have been filed.

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