SEMINOLE — A barefoot 2-year-old boy who wandered to a neighbor's house has been reunited with his mother, Pinellas County sheriff's deputies said.
But while authorities investigate what happened, Marcus Alexander Willis will be under the care of his grandfather, Don Mitchell Cooper, and his girlfriend, deputies said.
Willis and his mother, Natasha Lee Cooper, were visiting his grandfather on Lantana Drive when the boy apparently left the house alone before 9 a.m. Monday morning.
Deputies said Cooper, who was visiting from Georgia, awoke to discover her son missing and walked to 8470 Lantana Drive after noticing media activity at the home of 27-year-old David Parrish.
Parrish saw the child's arm reach through the chained door at 8:55 a.m., let him in and called the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. In minutes, sheriff's deputies and a horde of television cameras descended on the neighborhood trying to figure out where the little boy came from.
Willis was taken to the Sheriff's Office Child Protective Investigative Division by the time Cooper arrived but Parrish drove her to meet him and authorities.
Sheriff deputies are continuing to investigate. While that investigation continues, the boy will live with the grandfather and his girlfriend, Tara Rae Hayes, 31, though the mother will continue having access to him, authorities said.
Meanwhile, the child's father, Kristopher Willis, 32, is en route to Pinellas County from Georgia, deputies said.
No charges have been filed.
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