Small child in pajamas found wandering next to street in cold weather

Three young children were taken into protective custody Wednesday morning after police spotted the oldest of them wandering alone in her pajamas in sub-zero wind chills, authorities said.

Two officers working an accident near Broadway and 55th Street South spotted a 4-year-old girl walking near the street shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday, Lt. Doug Nolte said.

“This greatly concerned them,” Nolte said, because of temperatures near 5 and wind chills estimated to be minus 10.

She was wearing pajamas and tennis shoes. When they approached the girl, she told them her parents had spanked her, according to a police report.

Visible redness was found on her buttocks. She led them to a nearby apartment, where officers found one of her parents and 2-year-old twin girls.

The officers found living conditions so poor that “there was concern about the welfare and safety” of the children, Nolte said. They were placed in protective custody. No arrests have been made in the case, but the investigation is continuing.

“Obviously, it’s very fortunate we had officers there to observe this,” Nolte said, though he added that he was convinced residents who might have spotted the little girl outside in such bitter cold in her pajamas would have called 911 as well.