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Toddler found walking alone in Roy with no family, no clothes

Posted at 5:30 PM, Jul 03, 2023

ROY, Utah — Jordyn Vanekelenburg was walking with her aunt to get snacks at a 7-Eleven in Roy when she saw a young child with only a diaper, no shoes and no shirt, in the field behind the store Sunday night.

"I started running over and then I asked him, 'Hey buddy, are you OK?' and when he heard me, he turned around and he started crying, and then I went over there and started hugging him," Jordyn recalled.

Other bystanders who saw the boy rushed to call police while Jordyn called her dad Stanley Vanekelenburg, who came to comfort the toddler as well. Stanley remembers seeing him and knowing he needed some love.

"I held him for a little bit, tried talking to him and he wasn't talking. I laid his head on my shoulder and tried to comfort him a little bit and he just fell into it," Stanley said.

As a father of seven, Stanley says seeing the boy all alone wandering near a heavy traffic road, broke his heart.

"It's a 55-mile-per-hour speed limit highway. It's called Midland Drive and that's where he came coming up from, then he walked up and came between Starbucks and AutoZone and walked into a field," Stanley said.

Stuart Hackworth, the public information officer for the Roy Police Department, said the toddler probably walked a quarter mile. Hackworth said when officers first arrived on scene, they looked for any information that could lead them to the boy's parents.

"The parent actually realized their child had left, checked the surrounding area of their home, was unable to find the child, then called dispatch," Hackworth said. "At that point, we were able to direct the parent to where they child was, and they were reunited."

The situation has left Stanley and his family pleading for parents to be cognizant of where young kids are at all times.

"Keep an eye on your kids, guys. They're our future and we love them," Stanley said.

Roy City Police say a case has been opened with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, and the evidence they gathered Sunday will be screened by a prosecutor to decide if child neglect charges will be filed against the parent.