Wandering 18-month-old found safe

May 13, 2008 11:26:24 AM PDT
An 18-month-old girl was found in the middle of the night wandering the streets of a Lehigh Valley community.Action News was outside Easton Hospital when officials from the Department of Children and Youth Services took the 18-month-old into protective custody.

Surveillance video from inside the Wilson Deli on 24th Street showed the little girl all alone, standing barefoot outside the store, in the pouring rain, a bit before 2:00 Monday morning, when a Good Samaritan took her into his car and called police.

Investigators say, on the surface, it seems the little girl simply woke up, somehow opened the front door, and went for a stroll in the middle of the night.

But they want to know why the toddler's mother, Vianna Duran, didn't report her missing until 9:00 a.m.

Dhamwathi Nfn, the owner of the Wilson Deli where the child was found, says Ms. Duran often shops at her store with her daughter and believes this whole thing is merely an unfortunate incident.

"She's a very nice lady, I know her, and she takes care of her [daughter] very well," Nfn said.

Local investigators say they've dealt with toddlers wandering away from home before, but an 18-month-old walking a quarter mile, in the pouring rain, in the middle of the night is a first.

And they say Ms. Duran is very lucky it was a concerned citizen who found the youngster.

The child will remain in protective custody until at least Thursday. That's when a hearing has been scheduled by the Department of Children and Youth so that Vianna Duran can begin the process of reclaiming her daughter.