A Utah mom is under fire for leaving her 3-year-old son at a corn maze on Monday and not realizing he was missing until the next morning. Officials said they aren’t jumping to any conclusions and police are investigating whether criminal charges are warranted. Here’s what we know so far.
It was a 10-acre corn maze.
On average, corn mazes could range anywhere from 4 to 20 acres. The Crazy Corn Maze, located in West Jordan, Utah, spanned about 10 acres. So, when Kendall Schmidt, co-owner of the corn maze, realized there was a lost child, they weren’t immediately in panic mode.
The 42-year-old told The Washington Post that it is not unusual for family members to get lost or separated in the corn maze, so the staff waited about 30 minutes for the family to come looking for the boy.
Someone else, unrelated to the family, found the visibly upset toddler.
A good Samaritan discovered the boy about 7:30 p.m. on Monday near the corn maze’s entrance.
“He was upset and crying and really scared,” Schmidt told Fox 13. “She came over and she was helping out, and we got him a sucker. We got a blanket for him, trying to keep him warm.”
The boy would give them his brother’s name and his cat’s name but not his own name.
They took the boy to the Division of Child and Family Services when the maze closed.
While Schmidt took megaphone into the maze, calling for anyone who might be missing a child, an off-duty police officer took the toddler to her patrol car and put “Finding Dory” on her laptop for him to watch.
But hours passed, and no one showed up for the boy.
The mom called police the next morning.
“At 7:42 a.m. today (Tuesday), the mother woke up and noticed he was missing. She realized she may have left him at the corn maze and called us,” West Jordan police Sgt. Joe Monson told the Salt Lake Tribune.
DCFS said the mom would have to go in and answer some questions before the boy could be returned.
The boy lived in a home with a large group of people.
Monson told the Associated Press that the mom later arrived at the police station with about 10 children. The officer also told several news sources that multiple families with multiple children lived in the same home, and a group of them had gone to the maze together.
DCFS did not confirm if the child was returned to his family.
DCFS told several news publications that they couldn’t release the status of the child or comment on the case. Generally a child would be placed in an emergency shelter, a foster family or with another relative.
Police told Fox13 his mother knows where he is.