What to Know
A toddler was found sitting alone on a stoop in Harlem Thursday morning, police say
One surveillance video shows a man walking with the child, and another shows the man appearing to abandon him on the stoop
Sources say the man has been identified as the ex-boyfriend of the child's mother, and police are looking for him
A toddler was found alone in front of a Harlem home Thursday morning, and police are searching for the man seen on surveillance video abandoning the child.
Hours after the toddler was reported abandoned, sources say the mother was speaking with police at the 32nd Precinct stationhouse. But police are still searching for her ex-boyfriend, 22-year-old Antonio A. Staton, the man who allegedly walked away from the boy.
The boy's mother, who lives in a shelter, had dropped off the boy at day care to go to school, according to a relative. Staton apparently picked him up there.
At around 11 a.m., police said they got a 911 call for a toddler found on the front stoop of a home on the 200 block of West 132nd Street.
The woman who found the boy told News 4, "The baby looked up and put his arms up. [He] just whimpered a little, like 'Pick me up.' [He] was scared, you know."
Another neighbor told News 4 his surveillance video shows a man placing the 1-year-old boy in the gated exterior foyer of the building -- where the trash bins are kept -- and then putting a table across the gate so the child couldn't get out.
Police also said the man then walked to the adjacent building and put a bag full of diapers inside a garbage can. He then walked away, going westbound on West 132nd Street, and when he reached Eighth Avenue, he threw out his sweater, and kept walking.
The woman who found the child said it was heartbreaking to hear the boy calling for "mommy."
"When I gave the baby to the officer and walked away, the baby started crying and calling me 'Mommy,' and that brought tears to my eyes," the woman, who asked not to be identified, told News 4, her voice breaking.
"It's sad. I'm still upset about it... It's bothering me," she said.
The toddler was unhurt but taken to Harlem Hospital to be checked out. He is now in the custody of Administration for Children's Services.
A police K-9 unit picked up a scent from the child's tiny backpack; police were scouring the area.
A woman identifying herself as the child's great-aunt -- but asked not to be shown on camera or named -- emerged late Thursday night from the police station where the mother reportedly was speaking with police and told News 4 that she came to the station when she saw the news.
She wasn't able to see the child's mother inside, and police wouldn't offer much more information, but "they say he's OK and everything's OK," she said.
The woman said she does not know Staton: "I was told [the baby's] mother dropped him off at day care. Why would the day care let that man take my great-nephew? For what?"
She said the boy's mother "is a good mom, she was going back to school, getting her education."
Anyone with information on Staton's whereabouts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.