LENEXA, Kan. - Police in Lenexa say a 3-year-old boy who was reported missing when his parents woke up early this morning has been found safe.
As temperatures hovered near single digits, police and neighbors gathered in the area of 95th and Monrovia to look for the boy, who police believe let himself out of his home.
His parents called police after waking up at 4:45 a.m. to find the boy not in the apartment. His mother said she had fallen asleep around 9:30 p.m. with the boy in her arms.
Police said the boy got out of the home with the help of a step ladder. His neighbor said he knocked on her door around 11:30 p.m. He was carrying his mom's purse and had his dog.
"I know him, and he knows me," neighbor Rachel Shawb said. "I feel like he felt comfortable with me so I let him in because I didn't want anything to happen to him."
Shawb said she knocked on the door of the apartment where the boy lived, but no one answered, so she put a movie on for the child and the two fell asleep.
When police knocked on Shawb's door at 5 a.m., the pair was still sleeping. Police knocked again around 7:30 a.m., and Shawb heard the knock. That's when she answered the door and told authorities that she had the child and he was okay.
Holding back tears, Cliff Henderson, the ex-husband of the boy's mother, spoke with media shortly after the boy was located.
Henderson, who said he raised the child as his own, was grateful the child had been found safe. He said he was delighted to see volunteers join the search for the child he'd helped raise.
"I seen hundreds of people searching for him," Henderson said. "I'm just glad that he's okay.
He told reporters the child had gotten out of the home before, including one time when the boy took his sister's car keys and started her car.