Less than two hours after Amber Alert was issued for a five-year-old boy last seen in Mississauga, he was spotted in a KFC in Tilbury, a location almost 300 kilometres away.
Andrea Taylor, a Tilbury resident, went to the restaurant to pick up her food, where she saw numerous police cruisers in the parking lot. She also caught a glimpse of a little boy playing with a phone in the back of a vehicle.
When Taylor spoke with an employee, she learned that that employee had been the one to recognize the boy in the Amber Alert.
“They got some food and she said they were sitting and eating, and the mom kept kind of getting up and going to the bathroom and would leave her son in the restaurant kind of thing,” Taylor recalled her conversation with the staff.
Taylor said the employee described the woman as “a little bit off.”
Beginning of investigation
Cst. Heather Cannon with Peel Regional Police said the boy had been picked up by his mother on Wednesday afternoon.
His father grew worried when he found out that the boy didn’t go to school on Thursday morning. An investigation ensued after the father went to police.
“Along the way, it kind of led us to believe that it might be an abduction,” Cannon said.
An Amber Alert was issued at around 5:09 p.m. The boy was located safe at around 6:55 p.m.
In one Facebook post that shared the good news, the general manager of the KFC said her staff will be praised.
“My staff members that were working tonight will be receiving a lot of recognition for this, they handled it so well,” wrote Mariah Lin.
Community reception to alert
In February, Peel Regional Police was investigating another case where an Amber Alert was issued for 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar.
The police force received hundreds of calls through its 911 system, complaining about the Amber Alert.
Cannon said the police units have yet to connect to see how the community reacted to this alert.
“We will be looking into how it was received,” she said.
“I think ultimately with that being said, I think if you look at the end result, it was positive, it actually worked. So the Amber Alert did work this time.”
So far no charges have been laid that Cannon is aware of, but she said it’s still early and police are looking into speaking with the mother.
Taylor described the employee as fairly young, and that she had done a good job paying attention to the alert and the boy.
“She said to me that it had been a very long day, and I thought that was kind of cute,” said Taylor.