Motorist spots toddler crawling across busy street all alone and the family had no idea the child had gone missing
Cory M Cannon, 41, was on his way to work on Saturday when he spotted a baby crossing a busy street in Lakewood, New Jersey
According to a woman who spoke to the Asbury Park Press, a baby who left his residence and crawled across a busy street apparently got out by "accident". A photo that showed the 10-month-old toddler crawling across Joe Parker Road in Lakewood has now gone viral and sparked outrage in the media. A motorist was driving to work on Saturday when he spotted the baby on the road and took the photo.
When an Asbury Park Press reporter asked a woman at the home where the baby lived about the incident, she simply said, "It was an accident." She then thanked the reporter for the opportunity to comment but did not open the door to him saying she was busy taking care of the toddler.
The baby was spotted by 41-year-old Cory M Cannon who was reportedly driving to work after 5 pm on Saturday.
"I thought it was a toy or something until (the baby) moved," he wrote in a statement to the Asbury Park Press. "I knew I needed to get some sort of proof and my GPS was open on my phone, so I used my work vehicle to slow down traffic behind me and took the pic as I was exiting the vehicle and halting oncoming cars."
Cannon immediately dialed 911 after finding the baby and provided authorities with the address.
An investigation into the incident revealed that the infant may have left the premises after a door was left open by an older sibling, Lakewood Police Capt. Gregory Staffordsmith said.
The family was reportedly unaware the toddler had left until he was returned to them by a neighbor.
That said, state child welfare workers have been in touch with the tot's family, Lakewood Mayor Ray Coles said.
"Anytime you have a child that’s endangered, they get involved to make sure the child is safe," Coles said. The police investigation is also ongoing, Staffordsmith said.
According to Cannon, who spotted the baby, a neighbor came out to the street at the same time he was passing through.
After following the neighbor back to the baby's residence, a young child answered the door, which was ajar at the time.
"I believe (the baby) crawled right out of the front door," Cannon said.
However, neighbors and friends of the toddler's family claimed that the child's parents are "amazing, devoted people" who probably made a mistake. Two individuals close to the family spoke with Asbury Park Press without revealing their identities.
“It’s devastating what people are saying on social media,” one said, who has seen the parents regularly at the park playing with their children. “I’m personally destroyed by this because I know the family.”
Another neighbor, who is a member of various community agencies in Lakewood, said, “We are all people of means. If we felt there was a problem with the family, we would have gotten them the help they needed. We are a community that takes care of each other.”