A 3-year-old Ohio boy has been reunited with his father, and flooded with dozens of Christmas gifts, after local authorities began investigating his mother on the suspicion of abandoning him at a cemetery only two days before Christmas.
The boy, Tony, first jumped onto the radar of local authorities after he was found near Hope Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Hinckley, Ohio, on December 23, said Hinckley Police Department Chief David Centner shortly before Christmas. A witness told police at the time of the incident the boy was running after a car that abruptly sped off, and a dog was following him.
As it turns out, the dog also belonged to Tony.
The boy told police that he knew his own name, and the name of his mother and father, and police managed to identify the parents with the help of local news stations. The investigation into his abandonment has since focused on his mom, emphasized the police department.
“I want to make it clear that the father was in no way involved with this incident and has been extremely cooperative with HPD and Children Services,” said Centner.
“The mother is the focus of our investigation and is currently in the care of a local medical facility,” said the police chief, who withheld the mother’s name because no charges have been filed against her. “We are working with the Municipal Law Director as to charges upon her release.”
Tony was initially placed with a foster family while the investigation took its course, but was later released to his father. The police chief noted that Tony’s father has since indicated that he’s doing “very well.” Tony has also been reunited with his dog, who was found running around the cemetery, reports local news agency Fox-8.
When Tony’s abandonment was first announced by the police department, they encouraged anyone interested in helping to make his Christmas a little more special by sending gifts their way. The community response was overwhelmingly positive.
“I reached out to my friend Santa and tomorrow morning after he has finished his deliveries he is going to stop at HPD,” said the police department in a Christmas Eve update on Facebook, where they posted a photo of a lobby with dozens of wrapped gifts. “We are going to load the sleigh and make one final stop to see our little friend.”
After the massive outpouring of support, the department had to offer new instructions to those looking to help make Christmas a little more special: “If you feel the blessing to help, please check with your local communities as there are always needs to be filled. We are truly humbled by the response not only locally but from across our great country.”
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.