Boy in pajamas found wandering in southeast Wichita

A 3-year-old boy was found wandering in southeast Wichita early Thursday morning, police said, and wasn’t reported missing for hours.

The child was found on the sidewalk near Mount Vernon and Beech at about 4:20 a.m. by a passerby, Lt. Doug Nolte said. The boy was wearing SpongeBob SquarePants pajamas, but was unable to give his name or address, Nolte said.

Officers knocked on doors in the neighborhood, but found no one whose child was missing. The boy was placed in protective custody as the investigation continued, Nolte said.

A person called police at about 9 a.m. to report that a 3-year-old boy they had been watching overnight had disappeared, and authorities were able to determine that they were referring to the child found wandering on the sidewalk, Nolte said. The boy’s mother works nights and has been leaving him at the care provider’s home.

There were no signs of abuse or neglect, Nolte said, and charges are not anticipated in the case. The Exploited and Missing Child Unit has been called out to see what measures can be taken “to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

The boy has been released from protective custody.