SEATTLE - A 7-year-old boy was abandoned by his mother at Nickelsville Monday night, police said.
Tuesday afternoon, Child Protective Services told KIRO 7 the boy's relatives have been located. They are in the process of determining if the child has a safe place to stay.
Seattle police are working with CPS to find the mother and investigate whether she will be charged or will need more resources.
A CPS spokesperson said that a child would not necessarily be separated from a parent simply because they are homeless. But they would do so if the child had been neglected or abused.
Officers responded to the Seattle campsite at 2020 S. Jackson Street about 8:30 p.m. Monday after the child, dressed in damp clothing, was wandering the grounds.
John Jolly, one of the residents at Nickelsville, a homeless camp named after the former Seattle mayor, called 911.
"We gave her (the mother) a chance to come back. And she never did," Jolly said.
Camp residents said the woman they know as Donna had done this before, leaving at least one of her children behind as she disappeared for hours.
"There's been a couple of days when she slept in a tent all day long, and diapers didn't get changed. Kids ran around here without shoes on," Jolly said.
Police said Tuesday morning they have not been able to locate the mother but did not release her name.
"The child did not know where his mother was or when she would be back," Detective Renee Witt said in a statement. "Officers transported the child to the East Precinct. The child said he had not eaten since breakfast so officers took the child to McDonald's while they waited for (Child Protective Services) to respond to take custody of the child."
SPD said the woman has an 8-year-old, 7-year-old and 3-year-old. The middle child was the one left behind, and she has the other two.
The woman apparently called at around 10:45 last night to see if someone could drive her son to her, but he was already with police. She sounded intoxicated on the phone, according to Aaron Tapia, the Nickelsville resident who took the call.
Tapia said, "She just kept asking where Lamont was, and she said that she sent a taxi down here to pick him up. And I said, 'When was this supposed to happen?'"
He said that she did not sound upset. Instead, she simply took down police contact information.
Residents there said the woman was not welcome back and they would call police if she returned.