HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston toddler is missing after a man stole an idling SUV from a Walmart parking lot with the 18-month-old boy in the back seat, police said Friday.
Evan Montgomery Lamar Miller's mother left the 1996 Jeep Cherokee's engine running Thursday afternoon when she ran into the store to withdraw money from an ATM, Houston police spokesman Kese Smith said. Evan's 7-year-old cousin had also been in the car but she fled before the man drove away.
"The keys were left in the car and the engine was running. The mother ran inside just for a moment," Smith said.
Evan's mother told KHOU TV in Houston that she left the children bundled up in the car because it was very cold outside and that she had only planned to be in the store for a couple of minutes.
"As I'm running out, I saw my niece running toward me screaming my name and my car going down the road. I dropped everything and ran toward the car," Niah O'Neil told the TV station.
"My son was in the car and I just want my son back. I don't care about the car," she said.
Smith said it appeared to have been a random car theft and that it wasn't clear if the man realized he was also taking a small child.
A witness told police that the man had been pushing a shopping cart in the parking lot, and that he spoke to the 7-year-old girl before getting into the car and driving away, Smith said. He said there was no indication that the man had been armed, and Smith had no information about what the man said to the child.
An Amber Alert has been issued for Evan, who is 3 feet tall and weighs about 25 pounds.