The mother of a toddler found wandering in a neighborhood naked has been given a misdemeanor citation for child endangerment.
Kansas social workers continue to investigate as the child who was found alone in the middle of the night remains in protective custody.
The mother contacted KCTV5 in an effort to defend herself and also to say she is thankful that her 2-year-old son is OK.
The child's mother said her son was naked because he is potty training and that he takes all his clothes off when he uses the bathroom.
Social workers have determined that the child should not be returned to the mother's care, authorities said Wednesday. Social workers can also decide to remove the woman's other children from her care. Authorities said the woman's other children remain in her care.
"I just thank God he is OK and hope he can come home soon," the boy's mother, Megan, said in an email sent over the weekend to KCTV5.
A good Samaritan brought the boy to a nearby fire station at South 55th Street and Metropolitan Avenue after she found him at 1 a.m. Saturday in 40-degree temperatures.
Police said the child was walking in a wooded area crying near South 53rd Street and Swartz Road about a half mile from his family's home.
Neighbors say he is an energetic toddler that everyone keeps an eye on.
"I had seen him in the past running up and down the street, barefooted with just a diaper on. All the neighbors have seen it," one neighbor said.
The child's mother said she left her toddler for less than an hour with her older children, who are 9, 14 and 15, and when she came back, she thought he was sleeping with his sister.
"I will regret not going to check on him for the rest of my life," she said.
But she didn't report him missing until 10:40 a.m., nearly 10 hours after he was found.
"Me, as a parent, I would just be frantic. I wouldn't have waited that long," a neighbor said. She is one of several neighbors concerned by the situation.
The child's mother said she realized he was missing at 8 a.m. Sunday and "tore up the house looking for him."
"We then ran all over the neighborhood and got in the car to look," she said.
After that, she said she called police.
"I feel so sorry for him now that he needs me. He is happy and has had a good life, and most important, he does know he is loved," she said.
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