Grandparents of St. Patrick's Tot Nervously Await Custody Hearing

Guardians of 3-year-old left at cathedral want to take him back to Florida

By MEGAN K. SCOTT
|  Monday, Apr 26, 2010  |  Updated 10:30 AM EDT
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Grandparents of St. Patrick's Tot Nervously Await Custody Hearing

NBCNewYork.com/Flagler County Sheriff's Office

Nathaniel Fons, 3, was dropped off at St. Patrick's Cathedral two days after he went missing in Florida.

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The grandparents of a Florida toddler abandoned at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan nervously awaited a custody hearing Monday.

"It's a roller-coaster of emotions," Donald Fons said as he and his wife, Frieda, paced a courthouse hallway.

It was unclear whether the custody of 3-year-old Nathaniel would be decided right away; the Fonses were hoping to take him home as soon as possible.

The toddler, holding a note that included the name of a Florida detective, was found last Tuesday. Authorities say he was left in the church by a couple who had been traveling with him after his mother was arrested on counterfeiting charges.

When Fons learned that Nathaniel had been found, "The first thing I did was call my wife," he said. "She was at work and dropped the phone and started crying."

The boy has been in child-welfare custody since. A Friday visit among grandparents and grandchild was "fantastic," and Nathaniel looked good, Fons said.

The Land O' Lakes, Fla., couple also planned to visit the cathedral later Monday.

"We want to meet the security guards that helped him that night and just say a prayer, light a candle for him," said Fons. "I'm Irish-Catholic, so what a fitting place to be."

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