SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — A 4-year-old boy was found wandering alone in a southeast Shelby County neighborhood early Tuesday morning.
The Shelby County Sheriff's Office said the boy was found around 5 a.m. by a homeowner in the 5400 block of Eagle Bend Cove. He was taken to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.
He could only tell deputies that his name was Zay, that his father was named Rodney and his mother was Tee Tee.
The sheriff's office began asking for tips on the boy's identity around 10:30 a.m., but announced a few minutes later that the child's mother had been found.
Jessie Toney said his brother was getting ready for work at home, when he was startled by something outside the front door. He thought he was about to be the victim of a robbery.
“As he opened the door, he thought he seen something and he was hearing something, so he thought someone was gonna rob him," Toney said. "He ended up opening the door, and saw a little 4-year-old boy.”
The Toney family brought him inside, warmed him up, and called the sheriff’s department. But while they sat with the tiny toddler, they realized he was comfortable and mature beyond his years.
The boy, whose family was staying at a friend’s house up the street, had woken up confused, so he simply walked out of the house, looking for something more familiar.
"He seems like he’s grown," Toney said. "He doesn’t seem like he’s 4 years old. He said he walked out of the house, that’s what he told me. He said he walked out to go find his mama.”
The sheriff’s department quickly arrived at the intersection of Easterly and Eagle Bend, going door-by-door for hours. It wasn’t until they posted a missing children’s report on social media that they got a hit, connecting with the mother just minutes later.
The Toney family is relieved their new little friend has found his parents and is safe and sound.
“It was just kinda hurting my heart, because I’ve got a nephew myself, my brother’s son," Toney said. "And I was just thinking man, that would be crazy if it would happen to him or something, just wake up and he’s gone.”
There was no word on how the boy got out of his house or whether anyone will face any charges.