The mother of a nonverbal boy found alone at Union Station Wednesday night was taken into custody Thursday, hours after he was reunited with family, police said Thursday.
Detectives were still investigating why the boy, who was initially thought to be deaf, was left alone at Union Station, according to LAPD Central. Police later said the nonverbal boy was thought to be deaf because they couldn't communicate with him, even via a sign language interpreter.
The boy's 31-year-old mother was arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment, LAPD said.
Los Angeles police tweeted a photo of the boy, around 7 years old, at the station with a request for help in locating family members Wednesday night.
The boy was found outside a cafe at about 7 p.m. in the downtown Los Angeles transit hub. Cafe Crepe employees said that around 5:30 p.m. they saw a woman with the boy. She then left the child about 30 to 40 minutes later, so they notified police and security.
"He was still smiling," said Adrienne Garrett, who tried talking to the boy. "He was still running up and down here. What got my attention is he tried to go inside the restaurant."
Garrett said she and other cafe employees tried to get the woman's attention, but she ignored them and walked away.
"Maybe if she is around, she'll at least see and recognize that, 'Hey, I messed up' and come back," said Garrett. "But if not, I do just hope he gets a nice home."
Top news of the day
New surveillance images released by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority show a woman walking with the boy Wednesday evening.
While with police, a sign language interpreter was unable to communicate with the child.
After someone recognized the boy on the news, his family was contacted by police.
An unnamed relative was reunited with the boy shortly before noon.
Police say his biological mother returned to Union Station just before 2 p.m. and was taken into custody. She was being questioned at LAPD Central Station.
"They are going to interview his family - as many as possible - to try and understand what happened, and how this child was left unattended at Union Station and took 12 hours for her to come forward," Sgt. Hector Guzman said.
Police said the power of social media helped solve the mystery, but questions still remained Thursday.
Contact Transit Services Division at 213-922-1410 or 877-527-3247 with information. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or click here.