7-year-old boy abandoned at Nickelsville homeless camp

SEATTLE -- A 7-year-old boy is expected to be reunited with his parents after being abandoned by his mother at Nickelsville homeless camp, Seattle police said.

Police say attendants at the camp called 911 Monday evening around 8:30 when the boy's mother left her son at the camp, said Det. Renee Witt. Officers arrived to find the child wandering the campsite, damp from being out in the rain.

"(The mother) was talking about going to get her motel voucher," said Nickelsville resident John Jolly, who called 911. "I don't know exactly what happened when I was standing here but next thing I know I looked up and she was gone and the boy was still here."

The child told officers he didn't know when his mother was coming back and hadn't eaten since breakfast. The officers took the child to a nearby fast food restaurant for a meal while they waited for Child Protective Services to come take custody of the child.

Investigators say the mother is known to campers at the site and has a tent near there. She apparently said she was going to get a motel voucher and didn't want the boy to go with her, and never asked anyone there to watch over her son.

Residents said the mother had another 3- and 8-year-old child with her and that "she had done this before."

"We'd even talked to her about it," Jolly said. "I told her there was no more calling social services, CPS. Next time it was going to be 911... I hope and pray that it opens her eyes to what she's got going on."

Officers do not know where the mother is now. Police are still investigating and charges are possible.

"She's in need of some resources," Witt said. "But the fact remains: she abandoned this child. So we have to deal with that, in addition to determining what other resources she may need."