COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. >> A 3-year-old is back with his parents after he knocked on a stranger’s door in the middle of the night following the hijacking of his father’s car at a convenience store with him in the back seat.
“Help me, I’m cold,” the toddler told Traci Gilbert, who answered the door.
She said heard her doorbell ring about 2:15 a.m. Sunday and got up to check. Gilbert looked through the peephole and didn’t see anyone, so she opened her door. Outside, she found the 3-year-old covered in snow and sleet.
“He wasn’t crying. He never shed a single tear the whole time,” Gilbert said, puzzled how the toddler made it up 14 slick steps to her front door, carrying a plastic bag that held a container of soy milk, a Sippy cup, two diapers, wipes and pajama bottoms.
The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that his father, Anthony Pettiford, told police he left his car running at a convenience store when it was stolen with the child inside.
Gilbert said at first she was afraid that the boy’s father had put him out in the cold or he had run away from home, but the boy seemed well-cared for and talkative. Gilbert took the child inside and tried to find out his name without success.
“I’m sure the guy didn’t mean to take the kid, but no matter, he put a 3-year-old in the snow,” she said. “He completely abandoned him in the snow.”
Gilbert’s adult son took the boy in his car to find his home. Gilbert said the boy pointed to a house a few blocks away, but the lights were off inside.
Gilbert’s son waved down an officer searching for the boy and he was reunited with his father.
Pettiford may face charges, police said. The suspect and the car, a white 1995 Chrysler New Yorker, are still missing.
Kim Rayford, a family friend, told KRDO-TV that Pettiford got out of his car to talk to Rayford and her fiance at the store when someone jumped into the car and took off.
The unidentified fiance asked Pettiford who was in the car, and Pettiford answered, “My son.”
Rayford said they chased the car but lost it. The boy was found about 45 minutes later.