Toddler in Day Care Found Wandering on New Jersey Street

The boy's mother wants to know how her son managed to get out of the center

By Ida Siegal
|  Thursday, Sep 19, 2013  |  Updated 6:30 AM EDT
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The mother of a 23-month-old boy is searching for answers after her son was found wandering the streets alone outside his New Jersey day care center Tuesday afternoon. Ida Siegal reports.

NBC 4 New York

The mother of a 23-month-old boy is searching for answers after her son was found wandering the streets alone outside his New Jersey day care center Tuesday afternoon. Ida Siegal reports.

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A 23-month-old boy was found wandering the streets alone outside his New Jersey day care center Tuesday afternoon, and it's not clear how he got away.

Police say bystanders found Jovan Cox walking down Wanaque Avenue in Pompton Lakes by himself. He ended up in a parking place before he was grabbed by the bystanders.

"People pull in and out of those parking stalls all day long," said Detective Jonathan Williams of Pompton Lakes Police. "Thankfully, this ended without him being harmed."

Jovan had made it halfway down the block before anyone noticed, police said. 

Jovan's mother, Twanice Cox, said, "I was just crying so hard. My son is wiping my tears because I'm like, 'what if I would have lost him?'"

The owner of the Enchanted Learning Day Care told NBC 4 New York that workers believe Jovan managed to walk out of the day care's front door on his own by figuring out how to push an exit button and open the door.

Cox said she doesn't believe her son could have opened the door by himself. And even so, she added, the boy should never have been out of the workers' sight.

"You're trying to justify the fact that my son walked out of your day care and down the street?" said Cox.

The owner said the center has since moved the button so that it's too high for children to reach. But Cox says that's not good enough and won't bring Jovan back.

"What if he had got hit by a car?" she said. "What if the guy wasn't nice and took him somewhere?Because things like this happen, I watch the news."

The Enchanted Learning Day Care is not facing charges. The New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency is expected to pay a follow-up visit. 

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