Panic at the Welcome Inn in Towson as police converged on a building full of children for reports of an injured one left alone in a ground floor unit.
"I came outside and there was like 15 cop cars and everybody was running around in the downstairs building and then somebody said that there was a little baby left in there all by himself and they couldn't find his parents," said Jessica Redman, a mother of two in a neighboring unit.
"I saw the ambulance so I thought maybe something was wrong with one of the parents,” added Tanisha Carter who lives across the hall, “I wasn't thinking about the child. I wasn't thinking about the kids."
According to police, neither were the child's parents.
Suspecting something out of the ordinary, management had sent a maintenance man with a key to check on the unit and he discovered a young boy left on his own.
"When officers arrived on the scene, they found a 6-year old male at the location all by himself,” said Cpl. John Wachter of the Baltimore County Police Department. “The male was transported to an area hospital to be evaluated, and detectives from our Crimes Against Children Unit as well as the Department of Social Services are conducting an investigation."
Investigators now believe the parents had left the child unsupervised for two to five hours, and they have not disclosed where they spent that time, but it appears the law is clear in this case.
"In the state of Maryland, if you are under 8 years old, you cannot be some somewhere by yourself,” said Wachter, “This child should not have been in this room by himself."
In the court of public opinion, the many parents who also make a home at the motel, where the parents disappeared to comes second to the fate of the young boy they left behind.
"I can imagine he's scared. He's sitting in there. I don't know where his parents went. He shouldn't have been by himself, but I can imagine he's sitting in there. He wants his parents and he hears the door... strange people walk in. He sees all the cops you know. I'm sure he's terrified," said Redman.
Parents we spoke with say they occasionally saw children coming and going from the unit, but rarely saw the parents.
They added it was not unusual to hear a young child crying for extended periods from behind closed doors.