Cortland police find 3-year-old boy wandering city streets

The City of Cortland Police Department (Photo: Provided)

Police removed two city boys from their father after discovering the three-year-old son had wandered the city streets barefoot for more than an hour without sparking the man’s concern and both toddlers were living in squalid conditions, according to city police.

Alex Regenbogen, 25, of Greenbush Street, was also arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, noted the department.

A driver passing by spotted the three-year-old boy on his blocks-long walk without an adult on the Northside about 9 p.m. June 7 and called police, said Lt. Michael Strangeway. Other witnesses called police as well, leading officers to find him on Elm Street, Strangeway said.

The boy was able to retrace his steps, showing officers where he had walked, Strangeway said. Police determined the toddler walked north on Greenbush, crossed the busy intersection of Clinton Avenue, walked up North Greenbush, then back down the street before crossing the Clinton Avenue intersection a second time, this time headed south, he said. The boy then walked south past his house before police found him on Elm Street, Strangeway said.

“The child had been wandering for over an hour and a half,” according to the police report.

When officers returned the three-year-old to Regenbogen, he was upset with the officers who returned the boy, according to police.

“He didn’t understand why it was a big deal and told officers it had happened three or four times in the past,” said Strangeway.

Regenbogen told police he had fallen asleep while watching the two boys.

While at the residence, officers noticed a five-year-old boy sleeping on a towel on a dirty floor, Strangeway said.

“The house was appalling,” he said, noting there were cigarette butts, garbage and dirty diapers strewn on the floor and throughout the residence. Insects were flying throughout the home, Strangeway said.

Officers took the boys from the home and arrested Regenbogen, according to police.

“Both children were turned over to a responsible adult,” Strangeway said, noting state Child Protective Services placed the boys with a relative.

Regenbogen was released and is set to appear at 9 a.m. June 26 in City Court.