Toddler found wandering alone in Highland Park

Police seek charges after toddler crosses street, enters store

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. – A toddler is safe after she was found wandering alone in Highland Park. She crossed a busy street and walked into a convenience store.

When she showed up inside a gas station store Thursday night, no one knew who she was, where she had come from or where her parents were.

The girl climbed down the stairs at an apartment complex, walked through a parking lot and crossed a busy street that is not very well lit. Watching the 2-year-old girl on surveillance video shows she may have gone to the store for candy.

A bewildered customer stared as the girl roamed the aisles. The owner of the gas station locked the doors to prevent the little girl from walking out, and called police.

At one point, the toddler put two pennies on the counter and stared at the candy bars.

With police permission, Mohamad Bazzi opened the security door and took the girl in the back. Highland Park police officers showed up moments later.

Officers started looking for cars with child seats and running the plates hoping to get a specific address. At first they thought the girl may have just been dropped off because of what she was wearing. But after watching the video, the owner told police she came from the direction of the apartments across the street.

After a 45-minute search, officers found the girl's stepfather at the apartment complex. The family was reunited with the toddler at the Highland Park police station. Their cavalier attitude irked Highland Park police Chief Kevin Coney.

A Highland Park detective told Local 4 the child was hysterical and her diaper needed changing. A female officer got her a new diaper and calmed her down.

Police are pursuing child endangerment and child neglect charges. Child Protective Services is also involved and Local 4 is told it already knows the family, having been called to the home before.

About the Author:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism