NBC 4 New York
Good Samaritans found a 3 year-old boy wandering the streets alone today, and brought him to police. His mother is now under arrest. Tracie Strahan reports.
Prosecutors have decided not to file charges against the mother of a 3-year-old boy found wandering on a Manhattan street Wednesday morning.
Tori Grady, 29, is back at home with her son after being released from police custody late Wednesday.
"They interviewed me, and they saw I was very sincere, and I don't need to lie," she told reporters. "If I was such a bad parent, why would I leave New York City to start a new life with my children in Georgia?"
The toddler named Chase was found alone on Amsterdam Avenue just before 8 a.m. by a superintendent of a nearby building. Together, the two went into a bodega, looking for the child's parents.
Ahmed Nave, who works at the bodega, said the boy told him he "forgot" his mother.
"The superintedent asked me -- 'I found this kid outside, who is this?'" Nave said of his conversation with the superintendent.
Without any answers, the superintendent then brought the boy to a police precinct half a block away.
About 30 minutes after Chase went missing, Grady showed up at the precinct searching for her son.
A law enforcement official said the woman told police she left the child sleeping on the couch where she was staying with a friend. She said the friend left the door open, perhaps allowing the kid to walk out.
Police say the child was taken to Columbia Presbyterian to be evaluated, which is standard procedure in such cases. Authorities say he's fine.
Neighbors defended Grady and said she was a good mother. One woman said Grady was "hysterical" when she woke up and found her child missing.
Grady grew up in the area and moved to Atlanta. She was back with her son to visit her mother, neighbors and friends said.
Grady believes someone deliberately let Chase out. Neighbor Johanna Torres said the building's front door is too difficult for a 3-year-old to maneuver.
"The door does not open," Torres demonstrated. "You have to hit this in combination to pull the door."
Grady said, "I don't know who let my child out of the building, but whoever let my child out of the building, I appreciate them taking my child to the police station."