ARLINGTON — Police in Arlington found a 3-year-old girl safe less than two hours after she reported missing by her father at about 6 a.m. Wednesday at the Sutter Creek Apartments.
According to Sgt. Jeff Houston, Esther Nbegwa's mother left their apartment at about 5:30 a.m. for work. The father discovered the child was missing when he returned home from his job just before 6 a.m.
"There was a little overlap where the children are home alone," Houston said. "Several children live at the home. The oldest one is 10 or 12."
The sergeant said the youngest child at the home was Esther, who slipped out the door of the apartment.
At about 7:40 a.m., a neighbor opened the door of his apartment and a medic searching the area saw Esther standing behind him, Houston said.
"She walked away from [her] apartment on her own," he said. "The neighbor found her walking outside. Knowing that it was cold, he took her in to get her warm. He went out a couple of times looking for her parents before police arrived."
The neighbor, who did not want his name published, said he awoke to the sound of what he thought was his daughter crying. However, he discovered the sounds were coming from outside, which was when he saw Esther wandering around the complex barefoot.
"She was right there on the step," he said. "... She was cold, really cold."
Houston said the man was not alone with the child and his family helped care for her while she was in the apartment. While the child was able to point the family in the direction of her apartment, Esther was unable to pinpoint the exact unit. The neighbor said they were waiting for the complex's office to open, which was when they planned to bring the child over to apartment employees.
Once found, the child was checked by medics in the complex and returned home in the arms of an Arlington officer.
Houston said Arlington police will document the case and investigate further whether any charges should be filed.
WFAA's Shon Gables contributed to this report