HOUSTON (AP) — An 18-month-old toddler was found safe early Friday some 15 hours after an apparent car thief drove off with an SUV the baby's mother had left running in the parking lot of Houston Walmart.
Police and spectators broke out in cheers and applause at the sight of Evan Montgomery Lamar Miller in his mother's arms getting into an ambulance shortly after he was pulled unharmed from his car seat about a block from the Walmart where the vehicle was stolen, according to television reports.
Houston police spokesman Kese Smith said the boy was taken to the hospital for a thorough checkup.
Miller's mother left the 1996 Jeep Cherokee running around 5:45 p.m. Thursday when she ran into the Walmart to withdraw money from an ATM, Houston police said. The boy's 7-year-old cousin was in the car with him when a man climbed in and started driving off. The girl jumped out of the car.
Miller was found at the back of a strip mall less than a half-mile from the Walmart where the 1996 Jeep Cherokee was stolen, Houston police spokesman Kese Smith said. The reason they weren't able to find him right away is because the car was parked behind a restaurant in a wooded area and that high foliage made it difficult to spot from the air.
"It really took daylight coming up for the vehicle to be seen," Smith said.