Two days before Christmas, a 3-year-old little boy and his dog were dropped off and abandoned at a cemetery in Hinckley, Ohio. A witness who called 911 said they saw the toddler — who wasn't wearing shoes — chasing after the car apparently driven by whoever left the child and pup behind.
But once the word got out, calls, gifts, and offers of adoption poured in for the tyke, who the town's police chief described as "a pretty happy little fella" even when they first took him into protective custody.
What are the details?
The witness, who discovered the child at Hope Memorial Gardens Cemetery, stayed with the boy to keep him safe until authorities arrived. The youngster was able to relay that his name is Tony, and he knew the first names of both his parents but not his last name.
The Hinckley Police Department responded and provided the boy with a change of clothes since his clothes were wet when he arrived, and bought him some lunch. Then they posted a picture of Tony on their Facebook page, asking for help identifying him and explaining how he was found.
The community rallied. People wanted to know if they could buy presents for Tony, and others offered to adopt him outright. During an interview with local station WEWS-TV, police Chief David Centner even offered to care for the boy himself, saying, "My wife and I have already told children's services...we will welcome him into our home. We've got 14 grandkids and a big house and plenty of room and love for him."
The department informed people that they could send gifts to Tony and provided his clothing size. A day later, they posted a picture showing the presents that had been brought, and Chief Centner wrote:
"From all of us at HPD we want to thank everyone for your kindness, thoughts, prayers and overwhelming love. Our lobby is full from the gifts that have been dropped off. I reached out to my friend Santa and tomorrow morning after he has finished his deliveries he is going to stop at HPD. We are going to load the sleigh and make on final stop to see our little friend."
The Daily Mail reported that "a relative of the boy recognized the photo of him published in local media and contacted Tony's father," whom authorities have described as "very cooperative." The father called police Wednesday, and indicated that Tony's mother had custody of the child when he was abandoned, "NewsNation reported.
The father and officers also returned to where Tony was abandoned, and found the boy's dog, who was still running around the cemetery.
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