Toddler found alone in parking lot, mother charged

By Nicole Bell - bio | email

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA (WWBT) - A mother is arrested after her toddler was found wandering alone in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Colonial Heights.  A stranger spotted the three-year-old.  The boy was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and shoes that were on backwards.

It was just after seven o'clock Monday morning when Deidre Williams walked out of her home at the Riverview Apartments in Colonial Heights. Something unusual caught her eye.

"I said oh my goodness -- there's a little boy and  he's by himself," said Williams. She went over to the boy and asked him a few questions.

"I said, 'Do you know where mommy is?' and he said, 'Mommy.'  I said, 'What's your name?' and he said, 'Mommy.'"

The boy's mother is 29-year-old Najm Lewis. She and her son live in Norfolk. They were visiting family in Colonial Heights.

"The mother of the child said the last time she knew the child was in the home was about four in the morning," said Sgt. Robert Ruxer of Colonial Heights Police.

Police canvassed the neighborhood, knocking on doors looking for Lewis. After 90 minutes they found her in the apartment complex -- she was sleeping.

It's unclear how the boy managed to get out of the apartment or how long he was outside by himself.

"He was ice cold. His hands were cold -- legs were cold," said Williams.

Williams stayed with the toddler until police showed up. She says, with a river right next to the complex the outcome could have been much worse. Williams is happy she was able to help.

"I'm grateful he ran in my hands and not somebody that could have hurt him," said Williams.

The toddler was taken to the hospital and is said to be doing well. Social Services released the boy to the custody of a relative. Lewis faces one count of felony child neglect.

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