HINCKLEY, Ohio (WJW) — A little boy and his dog were abandoned at a cemetery in Ohio two days before Christmas.
The Hope Memorial Gardens cemetery in Hinckley, a community outside of Cleveland, was the backdrop for the heartbreaking story, as it unfolded Wednesday afternoon. A witness reported seeing a car driving away from the cemetery, and then saw a little boy and a dog running after the car.
The witness called 911 and protected the boy until police arrived. The child told officers that his name was Tony, but only knew the first names of his parents. As police tried to identify the parents, they asked for the public’s help to brighten Tony’s Christmas after he was temporarily placed in a foster home.
The story resonated with Jeremy Lowe of Wadsworth. As a child, he had been placed in a foster home just before the holidays.
“A little boy and his dog, Christmas time, you know, as heartless as it gets, really,” Lowe said.
Lowe used a Wadsworth Facebook forum to ask for donations and purchased toys for little Tony. Clothes and gifts poured in from across Medina County and Northeast Ohio, filling the lobby at the Hinckley Police Department.
“So that was the whole thought, you know just take his mind off of the previous experience from a day or two before,” Lowe said.
After Hinckley police asked NewsNation affiliate WJW and other media outlets to post Tony’s photo, a relative saw the photo and contacted Tony’s father. He immediately called police and indicated that Tony had been in the custody of his mother when he and his dog were abandoned at the cemetery.
“You know, I hope that the reasoning was that, you know, maybe somebody else can do better for Tony than that person could,” Lowe said.
Police said the boy’s father has been “very cooperative” in the investigation. Late Wednesday, he met police officers at the cemetery and they were able to catch Tony’s dog, after finding him still running around the property.
Hinckley police said Tony is now being cared for by his aunt and uncle. All involved are rooting for the little boy with the big smile.
“You know, I hope he’s young enough that he doesn’t carry this for the rest of his life,” Lowe said.
Hinckley Police Chief David Centner told WJW on Monday afternoon that no criminal charges have been filed, as detectives and case workers continue their joint investigation.