A boy who was found at Union Station on the Fourth of July has been reunited with family members, thanks in part to the media’s attention, the Los Angeles Police Department said Thursday.
The boy, who was unable to communicate with police and bystanders, had been sitting with a woman for roughly four hours at a station restaurant before the woman walked out of the building.
The woman, who police believe is the boy’s biological mother, returned to Union Station on Thursday afternoon and officers took her into custody, an LAPD spokesperson said. Police interviewed Dava Webster, 31, at LAPD’s Central station and arrested her on suspicion of felony child endangerment.
She was being held on $100,000 bail, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s jail records.
Los Angeles police posted a tweet Wednesday night asking for the public’s help in identifying the boy or his family members. Police estimated that he was between 5 and 7 years old and appeared to be deaf and autistic.
On Thursday afternoon, police announced that they had located family members of the boy, and thanked the media and community members for publicizing the child’s plight.
The woman had been sitting with the child Wednesday from about 2 p.m.to 6 p.m., when she walked out of Cafe Crepe and exited Union Station’s east side doors. She was wearing dark-colored sunglasses, a hat and a jacket and wore her hair in a ponytail, witnesses told police.
A Cafe Crepe server called out to the woman as she walked away, asking her to come back for the boy, said Adrienne Garrett, a restaurant supervisor.
“The woman completely ignored my server,” Garrett said. “So I thought ‘This is wrong. Something’s going on.’”
Security guards bought the boy a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cone and waited with him until about 2 a.m., but there was no sign of the woman or any other guardians.
The child seemed to be happy, Garrett said. He was smiling and playful and attempted to run into Cafe Crepe’s kitchen before Garrett stopped him. She had spread her arms out in an effort to block him and he quickly swayed back and forth trying to get under her arms.
“He was being sneaky about it,” she said. “I just kept blocking him and said no baby, no honey. He seemed like a decent child.”
The boy then returned to his table and sat alone as Cafe Crepe staff supervised from afar. Initially, staff members weren’t alarmed, because parents sometimes take smoke breaks or wander off momentarily, Garrett said.
But when it became clear that the woman wasn’t coming back, Garrett called security guards.
“He’s been eating peanuts off the floor,” Garrett recalled a security guard telling her. So she served him chicken tenders and poured him an apple juice.
He was taken to Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, where he was likely given a temporary home before his guardians were located, said Juana Aguilera, a children’s services administrator.
Police would not give any other details about the boy because the case is still under investigation, a spokesperson said.