WAUWATOSA -- There were many unanswered questions Wednesday, after a three-year-old boy named Toby was left at a Wauwatosa McDonald's restaurant for seven hours Monday, after an apparent misunderstanding during a custody exchange.
The boy was eventually taken home overnight by a McDonald's manager, who called Wauwatosa police Tuesday afternoon.
Police say for several months, the McDonald's restaurant at Highway 100 and Burleigh has served as a spot for custodial exchanges between the boy's caregivers. However, on Sunday, the exchange apparently failed, and Toby spent seven hours at the restaurant without a family member in sight.
McDonald's customers reacted to the story Wednesday. "I think that's terrible - seven hours with no parents around? That's terrible," one customer said said. "I don't think they probably intentionally left the little boy there on purpose, but that is pretty strange, how the baby was left there," another McDonald's customer said.
In response to the incident, Deborah Allen, the owner/operator of the McDonald's restaurant where little Toby was left behind released a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying: "The safety and security of my customers is a top priority. This incident was caused by a series of misunderstandings and we are currently looking into this matter. We are and will continue to work with the Wauwatosa Police Department, but because this is an ongoing investigation, it would be inappropriate to make any additional comments at this time."
While the investigation into this case continues, this case may serve as a good reminder for those who may have forgotten about the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare's 220-SAFE hotline. If you spot a child in what you think is, or may be, an abusive or neglectful situation, you can call 220-SAFE (7233) to connect with a social worker.