A Hartford mother is thankful her 4-year-old daughter is safe after she walked out of school and was later found wandering around the area by a total stranger.
The little girl’s family is wondering how she was able to leave Milner School with nobody noticing.
"When you leave your kids at school, it's their care to keep their eyes on them. You're not there to save them, you're not there to protect them,” Keishla Rodriguez said in an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Rodriguez was going to pick up her daughter early from school, but when she opened her front door, she saw her child standing there with a stranger.
That stranger was Mina Ruiz, who spotted the little girl shivering and crying outside her local market.
"I talked to her right there, I said 'my name is Mina. I'm a stranger but I'm not gonna hurt you. I'll take you home.' Then she grabbed my hand," Ruiz said.
Hartford police said the girl, with her jacket and backpack in hand, was sent to the main office for early dismissal on Tuesday.
She walked down the hallway, stopped at the main office, and when she didn’t see her mom, she walked straight out of the school.
"And I don't know how she got through the heavy doors ... because it's heavy to open, it's hard to open,” Rodriguez said.
A woman who was in the area spotted the girl and asked her where she was going and where her parents were.
Together, they walked to the girl's house.
"If it wasn't for her, I do not know where my daughter would have been right now. She would have been missing,” Rodriguez said.
She called the school and police, demanding answers. Police said Milner School thought everyone was accounted for, and that the girl had already been picked up.
"Something obviously slipped through the cracks between the school and the parent and the communication,” said Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley.
He said surveillance video was reviewed, and the Department of Children and Families were also called in to investigate the incident.
"But at this point, it doesn't seem like a criminal matter,” Foley said.
A spokesperson for Hartford Public Schools said they take these kinds of incidents very seriously and they are in contact with the director of security.
The principal has not returned requests for comment.
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