KPD continues investigating toddler found wandering in NE Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- If you've ever raised toddlers, you know how easily they can get away from you, but the wanderings of a North Hills girl has brought out Knoxville Police, and prompted an investigation from Children's Services.

Volunteer TV has not been able to reach the little girl's family, but the Department of Children's Services tells us she's not in state custody. However, she is in the hospital, and they plan to check over her older sisters too.

Investigators are trying to figure out is how, with mom and a teenage- and tweenage older sisters at home, a three-year-old managed to get past their eyes and a fenced yard mid- yesterday morning.

“She was pretty upset, she was kind of tore up and the girl's was too.”

Tina Walton's often the comforter, but she wasn't quite ready for her next door neighbor and neighbor’s older daughters when Knoxville police returned bearing a three-year-old turned real-life Dora the Explorer.

“I kind of had ‘em lay their head on my shoulder. Tell them I'd be there for ‘em.”

Knoxville Police Spokesman Darrell DeBusk says, “The child was about to wander out in the roadway, in front of some vehicles.”

The little girl was apparently chasing one of her kittens, who find it easy to get past a chain link fence.

It ended barely three blocks from home when somebody called 911 from Cherry St. and Cecil, one of North Hills’ busier and more dangerous intersections.

DeBusk says, “We had not received a missing child report at that time.”

So Officers found the girl's home by going door to door.

Walton says, “Most people, you know, usually watch out for other kids.”

Brown Avenue is part of the neighborhood watch, but many neighbors post no-trespassing signs.

Darrell Debusk says, “We made contact with the Department of Children's Services, because of the conditions of the house, the child was transported to Children's Hospital to be checked because of a number of health concerns that we had.”

Police haven't said what those concerns might have been.

Walton says, “She looked fine, healthy, she was good.”

Tina says she simply wants to make sure all her neighbors are safe, so if that means the little girl's older sisters stay with her awhile, she says, “I guess this is the neighborhood kid daycare, I guess. If that's what you want to call it.”

Children's Services won't say whether the concern is the little girl's home itself or her treatment within it, and it's not clear when she can go home from the hospital or who might be able to take her.


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