Police in New York state said they are investigating the discovery of a 3-year-old boy sleeping on a stranger’s porch.
They are investigating whether the discovery of the child and a burned-out car with human remains inside are connected, WKBW reported.
The local woman who discovered the boy, Lois Ausburger, said that the boy kept telling her: “The car’s on fire.”
Ausburger said the child was sleeping in a box that she places on her porch for cats.
Buffalo Police spokesman Jeff Rinaldo said officials are now “exploring the possibility” that the two incidents are related.
The burned-out car was found about a mile away behind a mini-storage facility, Fox News reported.
He added that the grandparents of the child identified the child and also reported the boy’s parents and a friend missing.
“The vehicle was badly, badly damaged from the fire, almost to the point that we cannot tell what type of vehicle it is or the contents of the vehicle,” Rinaldo said.
The 3-year-old was placed with child welfare officials and is said to be in “good spirits,” Rinaldo said.
Meanwhile, the boy’s grandmother told WKBW that his name is Noelvin. She identified the parents as 24-year-old Nicole Merced and 31-year-old Miguel Valentin.
Zenaida Colon, the grandmother, also told WIVB that the parents were in Buffalo on vacation. Colon said she last spoke with the couple on Sunday, Sept. 15.
“I come out the door and I open this up and I just happened to look down and I see him starting to crawl out,” Augsburger said, reported WIVB. “He was crawling out of the box. He heard me. He must’ve heard me open the door and he came crawling out of the box and he had the blanket around him and I picked him up and I hugged him.”
Augsberger said that a daycare provider who lives nearby then came to help.
“The child is not extremely verbal so it’s made it difficult for us to attempt to figure out exactly what the circumstances are surrounding the child’s appearance,” Rinaldo said, reported WKBW.
Police are asking anyone with information about the case to call homicide detectives at (716) 851-4466.
Facts About Crime in the United States
Violent crime in the United States has fallen sharply over the past 25 years, according to both the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) (pdf).
The rate of violent crimes fell by 49 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the FBI’s UCR, which only reflects crimes reported to the police.
The violent crime rate dropped by 74 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the BJS’s NCVS, which takes into account both crimes that have been reported to the police and those that have not.
The FBI recently released preliminary data for 2018. According to the Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January to June 2018, violent crime rates in the United States dropped by 4.3 percent compared to the same six-month period in 2017.
While the overall rate of violent crime has seen a steady downward drop since its peak in the 1990s, there have been several upticks that bucked the trend. Between 2014 and 2016, the murder rate increased by more than 20 percent, to 5.4 per 100,000 residents, from 4.4, according to an Epoch Times analysis of FBI data. The last two-year period that the rate soared so quickly was between 1966 and 1968.