MIRAMAR, Fla. — Police investigators in South Florida said they are searching for the mother of a toddler found wandering alone Sunday morning in an apartment complex parking lot.
Late Monday, the Miramar Police Department tweeted that investigators are searching for Leila Cavett, 21, who may be the child's mother, adding that they are “concerned for her safety and well-being."
Cavett, according to her Facebook page, lives in Atlanta. Police said she was last seen driving a mid-to-late 90s white Chevy 3500, with a red tailgate and a “Baby on Board” sign on the passenger window.
Cavett's sister, Gina Lewis, said in a Facebook post Monday that she's seeking donations to travel from Jasper, Alabama, to Miramar to see the the boy, who she believes is her 2-year-old nephew.
“Please help me find my sister my heart is breaking,” Lewis wrote. “I cannot breathe."
In a Facebook post, the Walker County Sheriff's Office asked anyone with information about Cavett's whereabouts to contact the Miramar Police Department in Florida.
During a news conference Monday, Ebony Williams told reporters she saw the little boy in the parking lot and figured the child's mother must be close by. She said she got out of her truck and heard him crying.
“I asked him ‘Where’s your mommy?’ and he just kind of pointed kind of everywhere,” Williams said. “I reached out my hand for him, and he grabbed a couple of my fingers and we just started walking around the complex hoping that I would find somebody looking for him or calling his name.”
Williams, who said she's been staying with a friend at the apartment complex, asked neighbours if they knew the boy's mother. She knocked on doors, but no one recognized the child. She said he wasn't able to communicate, it was all baby talk.
She called police, who took the child to the station, and posted his picture on social media, searching for his parents. The photos went viral, which is how Lewis saw them.
Lewis told WPLG the family has no connections to South Florida.
“We're in the middle of a pandemic,” Lewis said. “So it’s not like they were taking a vacation out of the blue with the baby. There’s no way.”
The child was turned over to the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Associated Press, The Associated Press