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Orange : Boy’s Mother Identified; Investigation Continues

Police identified a San Diego woman as the mother of a 2-year-old boy found wandering at a swap meet, but a spokesman said the mother and child will not be reunited until a thorough investigation is completed.

Orange Police Sgt. Paul Ordonez identified the mother as Mary Ann Bentley. Her son, Christopher, 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.

Ordonez said Bentley had called Orange police investigators Sunday from San Diego, but she failed to appear for an interview on Monday because of “problems with transportation.”

“But, to our knowledge, we don’t know when she will come in and talk to us,” he said.

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Ordonez said the red-haired toddler would remain at Orangewood, the county’s home for abused and neglected children, until the investigation was completed. He also said that the county Social Services Department still must determine if the child will remain in protective custody or if he will be returned to the mother after the investigation is completed.

“We still don’t have any concrete information as to the reasons why the baby was left at the swap meet,” Ordonez said.

He also said that investigators are trying to determine if the child’s disappearance was due to criminal activity on the mother’s part.

Ordonez, however, said Bentley told police that she had tried to locate her son but “thought perhaps a friend had picked up the baby and that was one of the reasons she discontinued her search for the child.”

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Bentley told police she tried to call the Orange police Saturday when her son disappeared but could not get through, Ordonez said, adding that the woman also claimed she ran out of gas on the freeway later that day.


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