Land O'Lakes grandparents reunite with child found in cathedral

Land O’Lakes residents Donald and Frieda Fons, holding a photo of grandson Nathaniel Fons, were reunited with the boy Friday.

Associated Press

Land O’Lakes residents Donald and Frieda Fons, holding a photo of grandson Nathaniel Fons, were reunited with the boy Friday.

NEW YORK — The grandparents of a Florida toddler who was dropped off at St. Patrick's Cathedral were reunited with the 3-year-old on Friday, and hoped for clearance to take him home.

Donald and Frieda Fons of Land O'Lakes had a supervised visit for several hours with their grandson, Nathaniel Fons, who was has been in foster care in New York since he was found Tuesday by security guards at the cathedral. The Administration for Children's Services said he would remain in the city's care while legal and custody issues were worked out, but the family was welcome to visit him.

The Fonses are seeking custody of the little boy, believed by police to have been left by a couple who had been traveling with his mother.

Don and Frieda Fons, who arrived Thursday evening, bought open-ended tickets to New York because they weren't sure when they would able to return with Nathaniel, according to the boy's uncle, Ryan Fons.

Nathaniel was found alone at the cathedral Tuesday evening with a note in his hand bearing the name of a detective in Florida and the words "call immediately."

The Fons haven't seen Nathaniel since June. They had lived together with the boy's parents until last year when Nathaniel's father took a job on a fishing boat outside Vancouver, Wash. But his father was arrested for failing to notify his parole officer and sent to jail in Florida, the family said. Records show he is still jailed.

The grandparents wanted custody of their grandson, but his mother took off with him, the family said earlier this week. She had been traveling with the boy until her arrest Sunday in Jacksonville on counterfeit charges, when she told officials that her son was in a separate car traveling with another couple.

After that couple's abandoned Chevy Suburban was found in a hotel parking lot in Florida on Sunday, authorities issued a missing child alert for Nathaniel.

Ryan Fons said children's services wanted to see how Nathaniel responds to them since it has been almost a year since he saw them.

The couple that had Nathaniel are suspected in the same counterfeiting operation in which Nathaniel's mother was arrested.

Nathaniel's mother, Erin Comeau, 26, is being held in Florida. She said in a written statement that she would allow Donald and Frieda Fons temporary custody but did not want to "permanently lose her son."

Land O'Lakes grandparents reunite with child found in cathedral 04/23/10 [Last modified: Friday, April 23, 2010 10:07pm]

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