Shawnee boy, 3, found alone for third time in 3 weeks

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SHAWNEE, Kan. -- The mother of a three-year-old boy is facing possible charges of child endangerment.

At 9:15 a.m. Sunday, a woman called police after finding a three-year-old wandering a Target parking lot alone. The Target is located near Shawnee Mission Parkway and Lackman in Shawnee.

"He was dressed in his pajamas. He had little slippers on and his pajama pants and he had a backpack," said Rebecca Gietzen, who was shopping with her husband when they found the boy.

They realized there was no parent or adult nearby and were concerned for him and also for the parent who they assumed would be worried.

But police are not convinced the boy's mom is concerned enough about him.

According to Shawnee Police Major Bill Hisle, responding officers recognized the boy from previous calls. This is the third instance in the past three weeks in which the boy has been left alone, according to authorities. On July 15, the same boy was found wandering around the Shawnee Station apartment complex where he lives behind the Target.

In that instance, police didn't locate the boy's mother until an hour later.

Then on July 29, the boy walked to Target alone, but was quickly reunited with his mom.

In the latest incident on Sunday, officers went to the apartment where the child lives, but no one answered when they knocked at the door. Officers forced entry to make sure no one was harmed. Once officers determined no one was home, they left a warrant on the apartment's front door.

Maj. Hisle says the woman contacted police at 3:00 p.m.

"If you're gone for six hours from your home, that leads to a lot of questions as to just why, why is that happening," said Maj. Bill Hisle.

The child remains in state protective custody and the case had been handed over to the district attorney's office to determine if and what kind of charges should be filed.

"He's real little. He's too young to know any better. Who knows who could get their hands on him," said Geitzen, who has two young boys of her own and said she can't imagine not knowing where they are.

The mom was not taken into custody at the scene so she has not been booked into jail at this time. Her name is not being released until charges are filed.

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