Toddler found wandering alone after walking away from daycare center

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LA MESA, Calif. -- A toddler who may have wandered away from an East County daycare center before dawn Monday was found wandering alone in the middle of the street at Broadmoor and Kathy Street.

A passer-by spotted the 3-year-old girl  shortly before 6 a.m., according to La Mesa police.

Officers located the child's mother later in the morning and reunited them, Capt. Matt Nicholass told reporters.

The toddler, who was unharmed, apparently was supposed to be at a child- care facility in the area when she was found.

“She was dropped off this morning and the owner of the day care center took custody of the child and left the residence. Left the residence thinking her two adult children would be taking care of the little girl," said La Mesa police Lt. Chad Bell.

Daycare provider Gloria Smith said the mother drops off her daughter everyday around 5:20 a.m. Smith then leaves to pick up other children and take them to school while her adult girls watch the 3-year-old.

“What happened today I don’t know I always lock the doors and I don’t want to wake up nobody and sometimes I taker her with me," said Smith.

When Smith's daughters woke up, they assumed their mother had the child who actually had walked out the front door sometimes after Smith left.

“It was a big mistake that I did," said Smith.

The Department of Social Services has one prior complaint filed against Smith's daycare in June 2016. It was found inconclusive. Another complaint was filed Monday.

Police said the mother of the child is not facing charges. The daycare provider could face child endangerment charges.