Toddler wandering around apartment complex in middle of the night

Posted at 6:31 AM, Jul 26, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-26 13:34:07-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Imagine getting up in the wee hours of the morning, looking outside and seeing a toddler walking around alone.

It may sound crazy, but Brittney Jones said that’s what happened to her at Henrico’s Essex Village apartment complex around 2 a.m. Thursday.

Jones, also the mother of a toddler, said she immediately feared for the little girl’s safety and went outside to help her.

“If I wouldn't have gotten her, no telling who what have. And, what would you have done to her?” Jones said.

Jones was thankful she was in the right place at the right time when the little girl stumbled upon her apartment building on Ingleside Drive. By chance, Jones happened to be looking outside of her window.

“I was devastated because I have a 3-year-old, and this had me in shock, because it was so late in the morning. She was walking and crying and you could tell she was scared. She was wet. I felt bad as a mother and so I just did what I thought was responsible” added Jones.

She acted quickly. “I approached her like I would approach my own child, with love and care. I wanted to show her that I wasn’t anyone that was going to hurt her. I just wanted to help.

Jones called police and even checked with neighbor Marie Henley and others to see if they knew the child.

Marie Henley spoke with CBS 6. She said she immediately began thinking of her own grandchildren.

"I have great grand children and I would never want them to be out so early in the morning," said Henley. "It’s dangerous.”

When Henrico police immediately responded to the scene, they began going door to door in Essex Village to try and locate the parents or anyone who may know the little girl.

When those efforts didn’t pan out, police gave a photo of the little girl to the media. The child, who was uninjured was then taken from Jones and placed in protective custody.

A family member later contacted police and the girl’s mother showed up to the scene about five hours after Jones found her.

Police declined to give the mother’s name, and the mom would only say that her daughter was safe and that she was going to pick her up. The girl’s mom also mentioned that a relative was looking after the child.

Police wouldn’t say whether or not the family member who was babysitting the girl lives in Essex Village, or if charges will be filed against that person.

Stay with CBS 6 News and for updates on this developing story and bring you the latest.