Joliet Police say video at the hotel shows the boy leaving the room and the mother retrieving him from the hallway. When the boy left the room a second time, he makes it to the elevator and is seen pushing buttons.
One of those buttons apparently stopped the elevator between floors, leaving a 16-inch gap between the elevator car and the wall, and a little boy scared alone in the elevator.
The elevator is now off limits at the Plaza Hotel in Joliet. Investigators shut down the elevator following the incident Sunday afternoon, when a boy fell 30 feet to the elevator shaft floor, according to Joliet Police.
"Looks like it was probably a head injury," said Joliet Fire Chief Joe Formhals. "Child was breathing and did have a pulse upon our arrival, but not really responsive. And with children, that's always, you know, children are always crying, that type of thing, so that's a big key there."
Residents say they heard the boy crying. They say he was upset and the elevator was stopped between floors.
"I'm touching the kid and talking, calming this kid down," said Nadia Narine. "He was upset,"
"We stopped hearing the child hollering and crying," said Paul Stewart. "All of sudden, he was crying again, but it was real faint. But it was lower, and I was like, 'Oh, wow.' "
When emergency crews arrived at the hotel they found him lying on the floor of the elevator shaft.
"Ambulance was dispatched to the scene. Also the patient was spinal mobilized and rapidly transported to our medical facility here in Joliet," said Formhals.
The boy was airlifted from Joliet to Children's Memorial Hospital.
The hospital will not release information about the boy without the parent's consent.
Joliet police say the boy was staying at the hotel with his mother and 5-year-old sister. The family is from the Joliet area and the mother had checked into the hotel Sunday afternoon.
The hotel manager did not want to comment. But, Joliet Police say, it is the hotel's policy to not allow children and that the mom brought the children in after checking in.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has been notified.
No one has been charged.
Officials say it was a terrible accident