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Woman Claims Boy Left at Swap Meet

Times Staff Writer

Orange police Sunday were interviewing a woman who claims to be the mother of a toddler who was found unattended at a swap meet a day earlier.

Detectives will not release the red-haired boy to the woman until it is determined that she is indeed the mother and that the child’s separation from her did not result from any “criminal conduct on her part,” Sgt. Michael Pollok said Sunday.

Pollok also refused to release her name or any information about the woman while the investigation is continuing.

The boy, thought to be between 18 months and 2 years old, was found about 10 a.m. Saturday wandering inside a swap meet at the Orange Drive-in on State College Boulevard near the Santa Ana Freeway. Swap meet officials said the youngster could not tell them his name and efforts to find his parents were unsuccessful, according to police.

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The boy is about 36 inches tall, weighs 30 pounds, and has hazel eyes and curly red hair. He was wearing jeans, a striped T-shirt, a brown-and-white sweater and tennis shoes when found. The child was being held in protective custody at Orangewood Children’s Home, Orange County’s emergency shelter for abandoned and abused children.

The unidentified woman first contacted Orange police by telephone early Sunday morning.

In her first call, Pollok said, the woman claimed to be the boy’s mother and said her car had broken down on the freeway. Later, she called again, apparently from the Westminster Police Department. He said the woman finally arrived at the police station in Orange about 1 p.m.

“At the present time,” Pollok said, “she is being interviewed to determine if, in fact, she is the mother of the child, how the child became separated from her, why it took so long for her to contact the police and if the incident resulted from any criminal conduct on her part.”

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He said an investigation by the department’s youth services bureau will continue today, adding that the county’s Social Services Agency may also launch an investigation.


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