Boy left at store stays in DHS care for now

By Jennifer Griswold Published: August 8, 2007
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NEWCASTLE — The mother of a 2-year-old boy who was left in a convenience store will have to wait until investigations by police and child welfare specialists are completed to get her son back, officials said.

Erica Hinojosa of Pierceville, Kan., met Monday with Newcastle police officers and representatives from the state Department of Human Services to explain how her son was left at a Love's Country Store at Interstate 35 and State Highway 9 on Sunday, Newcastle Police Chief Gary Norman said.

The family was en route to its home in Kansas when it stopped near Newcastle. Hinojosa, who has four other children, told police she didn't realize her son was missing until the family arrived home about six hours later, Norman said.

Two people noticed the boy wandering alone inside and outside the store and called police.

The child is in DHS custody. Hinojosa brought documents and photos to verify that the child was hers when she returned to Oklahoma to claim him, Norman said.

Hinojosa was allowed a supervised visit with the child Monday afternoon, but was ordered to return to McClain County District Court for another hearing later this month.

What's next

Newcastle police are completing their investigation and will turn a report over to the district attorney's office to determine if any charges should be filed, Norman said.