CHULA VISTA, Calif. - A 5-year-old boy who was found wandering the streets of Chula Vista alone and barefoot overnight Wednesday was reunited with his parents early Thursday morning.
At around midnight, a man found the young boy walking in the area of Roosevelt and H streets in his pajamas. The man stopped the boy and called Chula Vista police, who responded and began searching for his parents before taking him to a police station.
"It was weird," said Marcos Sandoval, the man who found him. "It was the middle of the night. I was scared because he could cross the street. You never know."
Sometime before 5 a.m., officers were able to locate his parents, who live in an apartment complex in the area. The boy was not hurt during the ordeal.
Sandoval feared for the child's safety as he inched closer to busy H Street.
"Thank you so much for finding him and keeping him safe," said the boy's stepmom.
The boy's stepmom, who didn't want to go on camera, told 10News, "We had a latch on the door and I thought dad was coming home so I unlocked it. I thought he was asleep and he got out.
The woman, who said her last name is Murphy, said she thought the boy was asleep when she left the door unlocked for 10 minutes.
"I went to the bathroom at like 1[a.m.] and I look in his bed and he's not there," she explained.
Murphy explained that even if the door was locked, she fears the boy could find a way out because he has developmental disabilities and doesn't always understand right versus wrong.
Experts say if you fear this could happen at your house, try buying a door reinforcement lock. It's a latch you can attach the door with three screws in just a few minutes. If you place it high enough, a child can't unlatch it. 10News found one for less than $20 at The Home Depot.
Police told 10News they did not see any criminal behavior and turned the case over to Child Protective Services.