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Tot found half-clothed in the cold

(ran North, South editions)

Temperatures hovered in the low 30s around midnight Monday. Police said the toddler walking up the middle of Madison Street at 11:53 p.m. was wearing only shorts and a T-shirt.

No shoes. No socks. No jacket. He was shivering.

A woman spotted the child and called police.

The responding officer knew 31-year-old Darby Elizabeth Maki had a boy about that age.

"I asked Darby if she knew where her children were," New Port Richey officer Greg Williams wrote in an arrest report early Tuesday. "She stated yes and directed me to her vehicle. Darby opened the vehicle, which had only one child inside."

Maki told the officer she was trying to keep the kids warm on a cold night.

"There was no heat in the house," New Port Richey police Capt. Darryl Garman said Tuesday. "So I guess mom was trying to do the right thing. But somewhere along the line she lost track of a 2-year-old. How long does it take a 2-year-old to get a quarter mile from the house at midnight in 30 degrees? That's a great cause of concern."

Maki, of 6015 Wyoming Ave. in New Port Richey, was arrested on two counts of child neglect. She was to be released on her own recognizance from the Pasco County jail late Tuesday.

Her children were taken into protective custody.

Garman said the 2-year-old boy suffered no lasting effects from exposure to the cold. The age of the second child was unavailable Monday.