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Woman seen on surveillance video leaving 2-year-old on stranger's doorstep

Video of a woman leaving a 2-year-old boy on a stranger's doorstep in the Houston area has gone viral. On Wednesday night, surveillance camera at a home in Spring, Texas, captured a woman carrying a child by the arm, setting him down on the front steps and frantically ringing the doorbell. After several rings and knocks on the door, the woman runs off, hops in her car and speeds away.

Originally, the identity of the woman and child were unknown. Many people who saw the widely circulated video believed the woman was the child's mother. But on Thursday, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office released more details about who the mystery woman and child were and the circumstances behind the disturbing scene.

Authorities now say the child was abandoned at a stranger's doorstep by a woman who is a friend of his mother, while the mother was in the hospital. The woman apparently mistook the house for the home of the child's father, who lived next door, "then left [the] location without verifying anyone was home or who she was releasing the child [to]," the sheriff's office wrote on Facebook.

She now faces a charge of child abandonment, a felony, CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reports.

During a press conference Thursday, Lt. Scott Spencer with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office said the homeowner who discovered the boy immediately called law enforcement. Officers reviewed the security footage and canvased the neighborhood, asking residents if they recognized the child. 

The sheriff's department also posted the 23-second surveillance video on Facebook, hoping someone would be able to identify the woman or boy. 

It wasn't until the next day that they found the boy's father, who lived next door to the home where the child was abandoned. He hadn't been home when police first canvased the area.

"During their investigation, detectives learned the father of the child received a text from the mother of the child that a friend was going to drop off the child in the early afternoon," Spencer said during the press conference. "When the child did not show up at the residence, the father assumed plans had changed for the mother and left the home."

What happened instead was that the mother's friend brought the toddler to the doorstep of the wrong home, and left him there. 

The child is now in the custody of Child Protective Services, which will determine whether to return him to his family. The boy's mother was in the hospital, the lieutenant said, which is why she did not know the friend left her son at the wrong home. 

CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reports police do know who the woman is, but have not publicly released her name. 

"Looks like we have the charge of child abandonment... That is a felony charge," Spencer said.

"It was very alarming and very disturbing and my heart was hurting for that child," the lieutenant said about the surveillance video. 

MCTXSheriff Investigates Abandoned Child

For Immediate Release October 18, 2018 MCTXSheriff Investigates Abandoned Child On October 17, 2018, at about 8:20 pm, Deputies with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched a residence in the 30700 block of Legends Ridge Drive, Spring, Texas in reference to a located person. The 911 caller advised that she heard a knock at her door and when she went to answer the door she found a 2 year old black male child standing at her door with no adult. When Deputies arrived they viewed video surveillance and observed a black female arrive at the residence in a white passenger car. The suspect is observed running toward the front door of the residence while lifting the child in the air by one arm. Once the suspect arrives at the front door she rings the door bell, knocks on the door and then flees back to her vehicle abandoning the 2 year child and two bags she was carrying. The entire incident lasted 23 seconds. The suspect appears to be in her mid-20’s to early 30’s with long hair reaching below her waist. Suspect also has multiple tattoos on her right arm that can be seen in the video. At this point the identity of the suspect and the child are unknown. The child is uninjured and appears to be in good health. Child Protective Services responded to the scene and took custody of the child and are assisting in identifying the child’s family. If anyone has any information regarding the child or female suspect, please contact the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office 936-760-5800 or contact Multi-County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-392-STOP (7867) and refer to case# 18A299244. Information Source Lieutenant Scott Spencer Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Executive Division Follow us on: @MCTXSheriff

Posted by Montgomery County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, October 17, 2018