Teenage girls rescue toddler in Stratford
KINDNESS IN ACTION
Two teenage girls saved a three-year-old boy from possibly getting injured or killed by oncoming traffic while he was walking on STH 97 in the village of Stratford on Dec. 13. Maren Hamill and her friend, Olivia Seitz, both of Stratford, were driving north on STH 97 near Dollar General around 11:50 a.m., when they saw a very young boy walking on the shoulder of the busy highway. The teenagers saw the young boy was not wearing a coat, shoes or hat on this cold winter day, according to the Stratford Police Department report. They told police the boy was carrying a bag of hot Cheetos.
The teenage girls pulled over their vehicle onto Fieldcrest Drive and ran across STH 97 and took the boy into the ditch in front of Dollar General. Olivia Seitz took the boy into Dollar General and she called her mother, Cathy Seitz of Stratford. Cathy Seitz arrived at Dollar General and she placed the young boy into her vehicle so he could stay warm. Cathy Seitz then called the police.
A Marathon County Sheriff’s deputy arrived in the Dollar General parking lot first before Stratford Police Department officer Sydney Nussbaum could get geared up to begin her work shift early and take over the investigation.
Officer Nussbaum observed the young boy eating his Cheetos in Cathy Seitz’s vehicle when she arrived in the Dollar General parking lot. Officer Nussbaum noticed the boy looked well fed, however he was dirty. There was a white substance, which looked like flour, all over the boy’s clothes and in his hair. The Stratford teenage girls told police it appeared the young boy had a full diaper because they could smell it. Police didn’t receive any phone calls from anyone missing a child during the 1-1/2 hours the young boy was in Cathy Seitz’s vehicle, according to the Stratford Police Department report.
The Marathon County Sheriff’s deputy was on the phone with an employee from Marathon County Social Services when the boy’s mother pulled over her car in the trailer court directly to the south of Dollar General. The boy’s mother couldn’t speak English but police identified her by Nicaraguan ID as Keyling Yorileth Bustamante Marin, 25, who is a resident in the Stratford mobile home court next to Dollar General. Police identified the male who was with the boy’s mother by Mexican ID as her live-in boyfriend Mario Orlando Arcos-Melgarejo, 31.
Police called dispatch to get an interpreter so they could speak with the boy’s mother, who told police her boyfriend needed to return to the mobile home to watch the other child who was there. The boy’s mother told police they had just returned home from a long road trip and they were very tired. The boyfriend went to sleep and it was the mother’s job to stay up to watch the kids, according to the Stratford Police Department report. The mother told police the last time she checked, both children were sleeping. The mother told police she must have fallen asleep and when she woke up, she noticed only one child was in the mobile home.
The boy’s mother told police she looked for her child near the woods behind the mobile home for 15 minutes before she located police in the Dollar General parking lot. The boy’s mother told police she was sorry for what happened but she stated it happened and she couldn’t change it, according to the Stratford Police Department report.
Marathon County Social Services allowed the mother to take her child back to the home. Marathon County Social Services did plan, however, to send someone out to the home to check on the family and their living conditions.
Officer Nussbaum gave the mother and her three-year-old boy a ride back to their home in her police squad car. The mother gave Nussbaum permission to go inside, where she observed there to be no furniture in the living room area, but otherwise the home was relatively well kept. She saw groceries on the floor in the home, which is where the three-year-old boy possibly became covered in the white substance.
While the mother and boyfriend were sleeping, the three-year-old boy must have opened the bag of flour and dumped it on the floor, according to the Stratford Police Department report. Officer Nussbaum also saw three to four eggs on the floor around the flour. Officer Nussbaum observed the threeyear- old boy running around and playing with his toys that were on the floor in the living room. Officer Nussbaum said the three-year-old appeared to be a happy, healthy and adventurous little boy.
The boy’s mother thanked officer Nussbaum for her help before she left the mobile home, according to the Stratford Police Department report.