HINCKLEY, Ohio (WJW) — Authorities in Ohio are investigating after a 3-year-old boy and his dog were abandoned at a cemetery two days before Christmas.
A witness reported seeing a car driving away from Hope Memorial Gardens cemetery in Hinckley on Wednesday and a little boy and a dog running after the vehicle.
The witness called 911 and protected the boy until Hinckley police arrived. The child told officers his name was Tony, but he only knew the first names of his parents. As police tried to identify the parents, Tony was temporarily placed in a foster home.
The story resonated with Jeremy Lowe of Wadsworth. As a child, he had been placed in a foster home just before the holidays.
“A little boy and his dog, Christmas time. You know, as heartless as it gets, really,” Lowe said.
Lowe used a Facebook forum to ask for donations and purchased toys to brighten Tony’s Christmas. Clothes and gifts poured in from across Medina County and Northeast Ohio, filling the lobby at the Hinckley Police Department.
“So that was the whole thought, you know, just take his mind off of the previous bad experience from a day or two before,” Lowe said.
After Hinckley police asked media outlets to post Tony’s photo, a relative saw the photo and contacted Tony’s father. He immediately called the police and indicated that Tony had been in the custody of his mother when he and his dog were abandoned.
“You know, I hope that the reasoning was that, you know, maybe somebody else can do better for Tony than that person could,” Lowe said.
Police said the boy’s father has been “very cooperative” in the investigation. Late Wednesday, he met police officers at the cemetery and they were able to catch Tony’s dog after finding him still running around the property.
Hinckley police said Tony is now in the care of his aunt and uncle.
“You know, I hope he’s young enough that he doesn’t carry this for the rest of his life,” Lowe said of the little boy with the big smile.
Hinckley Police Chief David Centner said Monday afternoon that no criminal charges have been filed and that detectives and caseworkers are continuing their joint investigation.