NEW YORK (CNS) — Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York expressed gratitude that those who abandoned a 3-year-old Florida boy in St. Patrick’s Cathedral knew that “there is always a sanctuary at the church.”
Nathaniel Fons had been the subject of a nationwide Amber Alert after his mother, Erin Comeau, 26, was arrested in Florida April 18 on charges of grand theft auto and organized fraud. She reportedly had more than $5,000 in fake $100 bills at the time of her arrest.
Comeau told police that Nathaniel was traveling with her friends Eleanor Black and William Scott and their children; surveillance footage at St. Patrick’s showed a woman who was identified as Black dropping the toddler off at the cathedral on the evening of April 20.
“Thanks be to God he is all right,” Archbishop Dolan told reporters. “I was so distressed last night when I heard about it, but then I thought thanks be to God he is safe.
“And in a way, however he got here …, whatever the motive or whatever the reason, at least they felt somewhat safe and secure that there is always a sanctuary at the church,” he added.
Archbishop Dolan expressed thanks to St. Patrick’s staff members for the attention they gave the child and “that they knew what to do and who to call.”
Security guards comforted the boy and talked to him about his favorite colors and cartoons until police arrived.
Nathaniel carried a note with his mother’s name, his birthday and the name of a Florida detective involved in his mother’s case.
The child was put into the custody of child services officials in New York, but news reports said his paternal grandparents, Donald and Frieda Fons, were headed to New York from their Land O’ Lakes, Fla., home and hoped to get Nathaniel released to them.
The grandparents had raised Nathaniel for the first two years of his life, but Comeau left with him after the Fonses started proceedings to obtain legal custody of him last fall. The child’s father is in jail.
As of April 23, police were still looking for Black and Scott, who faced child endangerment charges.
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