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WEST VALLEY CITY — A nonprofit group that has been providing crisis nursery care for more than three decades is horrified that a child under their protection walked away undetected and went missing.
"We, of course, are appalled. Nothing like that has ever happened in the 34 years we've been providing crisis nursing service," said Bonnie Peters, executive director of the Family Support Centers in the Salt Lake Valley.
About 1 a.m. Tuesday, West Valley police responded to a call of a 4-year-old boy found wandering by himself on the sidewalk wearing next to nothing. The boy was taken into protective custody when his parents or guardian couldn't be found.
The boy apparently got up during the night, after everyone had gone to bed, and somehow managed to open two locks, including a deadbolt, and walk out the door.
Investigators later learned the boy had already been in protective custody at the Family Support Center's Crisis Nursery in West Valley, 3663 S. 3600 West.
The boy apparently got up during the night, after everyone had gone to bed, and somehow managed to open two locks, including a deadbolt, and walk out the door, Peters said. When the house parent woke up the next morning about 7:30 a.m. and discovered the boy was missing, she immediately called police.
The boy was eventually returned to his parents.
"It's just unreal this happened," said Peters. "This is such an anomaly. But thank God so very much the child is OK. That's the most important part."
The Family Support Center offers a 24-hour crisis nursery for parents who, "are stressed, need a break, have an emergency arise, or have no one else to help take care of their children can leave their children safely" in their care, according to their website.
We, of course, are appalled. Nothing like that has ever happened in the 34 years we've been providing crisis nursing service.
–Bonnie Peters, Family Support Centers
Last month, the Family Support Center's three Salt Lake locations provided care for about 450 children. Last year, the center provided 71,000 hours of care to children, Peters said.
Police agencies often take children to the centers.
West Valley Police Sgt. Mike Powell said as of Wednesday, his office did not foresee any charges being filed.
"There was no blatant negligence. It appears to be an unfortunate occurrence," he said. "It appears the issues at hand are being addressed."
Peters said her office was in the process of reviewing all policies and procedures as well as having their board conduct an investigation.
One change that was made immediately was the installation of alarms on the doors, she said.