Commissioner recommends that toddler found wandering stays in state custody

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – On Friday the two-year-old at the center of a high-profile case appeared in court with his relatives, even as the actual whereabouts of a mother remained up in the air. Jessica Scott was in an Indiana courtroom on Thursday, her son A.J. was in a family courtroom on Friday.

A.J. appeared happy and playful and ended up in his grandfather’s arms, even if it’s just temporary. After a custody hearing Friday at the Jackson County Family Justice Center, Tim Overby held on tightly to his two-year-old grandson and hurried out of the courthouse, whisking right by a FOX 4 camera.

A tight-lipped Overby rushed to put his grandson in his car. A courthouse spokesperson wouldn’t confirm if the pair was together for hours or the weekend, but during the hearing Commissioner Molly Merrigan recommended that the toddler remain in state custody.

Police say last Tuesday that A.J. dressed himself, walked out of his family’s front door and wandered a half a block away from home, all alone. Two construction workers who found him say the little boy first walked along the sidewalk, and then darted into the busy street after a dog.

“He came right up talking. I asked him if it’s his dog and he said ‘yeah,’ and I asked him where he lived, if he lives around here and he said ‘yeah,’ and I asked him if his mom was home and he said, ‘no she left,’” said Drew Shippy.

During Friday’s custody hearing, FOX 4’s camera wasn’t allowed in the courtroom as A.J. bounced around and played with his toys. His grandfather listened as Commissioner Merrigan also said the boy’s mother, 22-year-old Jessica Scott can have supervised visits.

Scott’s whereabouts have been a mystery of sorts. She recently pleaded guilty to attempted robbery in Anderson, Indiana and was placed on three years of home detention. Three weeks ago A.J.’s father, Aaron Scott was hauled off to an Indiana prison for burglary, theft and other charges. Commissioner Merrigan said he cannot see his son.

Court officials in Indiana and Kansas City don’t know if Jessica Scott is still in Indiana. Right now, A.J. is still in state custody. His mother will be appointed a lawyer when she comes forward.

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