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— A two-year-old was found wandering alone, unclothed, through the intersection of Main Street and Roller Avenue in downtown Decatur around 6:15 a.m. on Sept. 29.

The boy had walked nearly a halfmile from his home in 43 degree weather and was completely naked except for his socks, which were soaking wet and covered in grass clippings, according to reports from the Decatur Police Department.

Taggart Lesh was driving through town when he spotted the toddler walking on Main Street near the intersection. He wrapped the child in a blanket, put him in a car seat and drove him back to the E-Z Mart gas station on Main Street where he had noticed a police car as he drove by earlier.

Decatur officer Larry Fiedorowicz called Fire Chief David Flynt to examine the boy. Flynt found the toddler was very cold but otherwise unharmed, according to police reports.

The gas station manager happened to have a diaper and a change of clothes for the toddler in her car, and was able to dress him while Fiedorowicz and a Benton County Sheriff’s Deputy attempted to locate his parents.

The boys grandmother, Deana Smiddy, came into the gas station while he was being examined by Flynt and recognized the child.

Around 6:55 a.m., some 40 minutes after the toddler was found, his mother, Jessica Thompson, called to report him missing.

The mother said that the toddler had been sleeping in bed with her. She said she awoke to discover him missing between 6:15 and 6:30 a.m. She told police that she looked around the apartment for him and then looked outside and across the street before beginning to search for the child from her vehicle.

The child’s father, Lawrence Thompson, was reportedly at work when the incident occurred. Jessica Thompson was given a citation for endangering the welfare of a minor and driving without a license, both misdemeanors.

This is not the first time Jessica Thompson’s children have been found wandering alone. Two of her children, ages 1 and 3 at the time, were found walking on Third Street around 6 a.m., on June 25. Decatur police officer Jeannie Yates returned them to their home and found the front door standing open and Jessica Thompson still asleep in bed, according to the report.

Yates advised Jessica Thompson to install a door lock that the children could not open.

News, Pages 1 on 10/07/2009

Print Headline: Naked toddler found walking downtown

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