The picture of a sad 2-year-old boy wearing a Paw Patrol shirt circulated on social media after Boynton Beach police posted it in hopes of finding out who the toddler was and why he wandering around by himself Monday.
By the afternoon, the mystery was solved and the boy’s mother — who has two other children — was arrested and charged with child neglect.
According to Boynton Beach police, the unidentified boy was spotted by a passerby in the area of North Congress Avenue and West Gateway Boulevard around 12:30 p.m. The woman told officers the boy was in the center lane and there were no adults nearby, an officer wrote in an arrest report.
Officers circulated the area, knocking on doors of nearby homes. But no one knew the boy.
The department posted the boy’s picture on Twitter: “We need your help identifying this child and finding his parents. He was found wandering on Congress Avenue near Gateway Boulevard. Officers are now going door-to-door in the area to try and find his parents or caregiver.”
At 2:30 p.m., police say Nancy Ineus approached cops in the area and said the boy was her son.
She told officers she works from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and went to take a nap around 11 a.m., according to the report.
Her oldest child, a 5-year-old boy, was in school and her 2-year-old and 8-month-old boy were home with her, police said.
Ineus, according to the report, woke up around 2 p.m. to feed her youngest child. Shortly after, her brother dropped off her older son from school.
“Defendant did not notice [the 2-year-old] missing until [the 5-year-old] started crying because he did not see his brother,” and officer wrote in the report. “Defendant started looking for [the 2-year-old] inside the house and went to look outside but could not find [him].”
She then saw police and saw her son in a patrol car, police said.
Ineus told police this wasn’t the first time the boy had gotten out because the safety latch on the door was broken, according to the report.
She was then arrested. The children were left in the care of family members and The Department Children and Families was notified of the incident, police said.