Woman, community come to aid of boy found on South Side

January 15, 2013 2:49:09 PM PST
A Chicago mother now faces charges after her young child is found wandering the streets on the city's South Side around midnight.

It was a harrowing story of a young child found wandering the streets of Chicago

Chicago Police say the child's mother, 27-year-old Carla S. Conrad, came forward after she was told the boy's picture was on television early Tuesday morning.

Police had been trying for several hours to locate the boy's family.

Amanda Martin was walking back to her Englewood home after making a late night run to the neighborhood grocery store when she spotted the boy running east on 72nd Street, a block away from Ashland.

"I didn't think anything of it, just that, 'Oh, he's running in front of his mom,'" Martin said. "But as I got closer, I noticed, there's no mom."

Martin went over to help him, and says he was only able to tell her he was 3 years old. He couldn't tell her his name or who his parents were.

She says he was wearing a coat and a hat, but it was unclear how long he had been outside with the temperature around 19 degrees.

"I said, 'Hold my hand,' and when I grabbed it, it felt like an ice cube," Martin said. "And as soon as I held his hand, he did this, like, 'pick me up.'"

Martin says she called police, who responded immediately.

Officers gave him food and he warmed up in the back of a police car.

He told officers his nickname was "the boss."

"I said, 'It's ok honey, you're going home,'" said Martin. "He said, 'I don't want to go home, I want to stay with the police,'"

Officers then spent the next couple of hours in the neighborhood with the boy, going door to door, and block to block trying to find his family, but it appeared no one had seen the boy before.

They knocked on Carlos Wright's door and he, along with a lot of his neighbors, joined the search party.

"The community came together, a lot of bothered people worried about the baby," Wright said. "We were all going house to house."

Conrad has been charged with misdemeanor child endangerment.

The Department of Child Family Services has custody of the boy. They said they have had no prior contact with the family, but they are investigating the mother for neglect.