The mother of a boy found wandering the streets without shoes, a coat or a hat, says the incident was a “freak accident gone wrong.”
Chicago police said someone found the boy at approximately 11:45 p.m. near the area of 8200 South Avalon Avenue. The 2-year-old boy was wearing a gray sweater, blue jeans and argyle socks.
Officials said he was in good condition at the hospital before being picked up by someone from the Department of Children and Family Services.
It's not clear how long the boy had been outside, but neighbors said his mother didn't realize he was gone until about 6 a.m.
“I put him down to sleep and I looked at him and he was asleep,” said the boy’s mother, Whitney Thomas. “I get out of the bed to not make any moves so he wouldn’t wake up and I sat on the couch myself to continue watching TV. I dozed off myself and I woke up with [cameras] at my door and they’re telling me my son is not here and then I look everywhere in my house and I come to find that it’s true.”
The child was treated and released from the hospital in good condition, and medical personnel described him as happy and jumping around.
Thomas says her son has always been active and intelligent, but this morning, she couldn’t believe he was gone.
She thanked the person who found the boy and called police.
“I’m very thankful for the person who did bring him in and called the police, because anything could happen,” she said. “I’m worried myself, anything could have happened to my son, it’s very cold out here.”
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said it is currently investigation the mother for allegations of neglect.
They said the boy's mother has had no prior reports, but Marlon Thompson was in DCFS custody and was later placed with a foster home, pending the investigation.
“I’m not a neglectful mother, everybody who knows me knows I’ve been a single mama since day one,” she said. “This is an accident gone freak wrong.”
Thomas said her son was placed into a home in Lansing, but that DCFS later approved her reunion with her son.
And tonight, the single mom says she's learned a life lesson.
"It's terrible," she said. "It's something I learned a lesson of of. Even though I didn't neglect my child, it's a precaution that needs to go into place now."
Chicago police said no charges were pending against Thomas.