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3-year-old found alone crying at Fort Mill park. His daycare bus left without him

According to the police report, a Charlotte man came to Steele Street Park in Fort Mill Wednesday to buy an iPhone 7 from someone he met online but was robbed at gunpoint instead.
According to the police report, a Charlotte man came to Steele Street Park in Fort Mill Wednesday to buy an iPhone 7 from someone he met online but was robbed at gunpoint instead.

A 3-year-old boy was reportedly left unattended at a Fort Mill park for two hours on Thursday by a daycare worker, according to Fort Mill Police.

He was later reunited, unharmed, with his parents, police said.

Deana Vinson of Edgemoor, who was at Steele Street Park with her daughter-in-law and six grandchildren, found the boy about 20 minutes after a daycare bus left at about 2 p.m.

Fort Mill police said an officer contacted the child's mother, and he was picked up by his father at the police station.

The incident was reported to the Department of Social Services.

"There aren't any criminal charges being considered," said Maj. Bryan Zachary with the Fort Mill Police Department.

The Herald isn't naming the daycare since charges haven't been filed.

Vinson said she spoke with a woman from the daycare while 15 to 20 children from that site were playing at the park. Vinson said she didn't see the woman count the children as they got on the bus. Vinson also said she didn't initially recall the name of the daycare but remembered which street it was on, having seen it on the outside of the bus.

"She told everybody to load up, get on the bus, they were leaving," Vinson said.

Vinson's grandchildren were playing in the splash pad area about 20 minutes after the bus left, then they decided to go to the jungle gym.

"They get up there, and my daughter-in-law told me, I hear a kid crying," Vinson said.

Vinson watched the child play with her grandchildren, figuring someone would come back for him.

"I waited, I stood there with him for 20 or 30 minutes," Vinson said. "Nobody came back for him."

She called daycare and recreation centers before calling police. She also posted the child's photo on social media seeking information.

Vinson said the woman returned in her own vehicle about 45 minutes after police arrived.

The incident was unnerving, she said, but could have been worse.

"Anything could've happened," Vinson said.

According to the police report, the daycare worker admitted to "miscounting" the children. She also said the child has a "bad habit of wandering off." The worker had contacted the town parks and recreation department earlier about the splash pad, and someone from the daycare called the department again once they realized a child was missing.

The town parks and recreation department also contacted Fort Mill police.

The daycare director told police an employee "made a mistake" counting the children at the park. The director said she was "horrified at the mistake" once it was realized back at the daycare.

John Marks: jmarks@fortmilltimes.com; @JohnFMTimes
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