The manager of the Lacey West Apartments went outside Sunday evening just after 8pm, to find a 14-month-old and 2-and-a-half-year-old walking around the parking lot. With no adults in sight, the manager tried to find the parents but had no luck so she called police.
Lt. George Hernandez, Hanford Police Department, said, "As of 7-o-clock this morning no one had contacted our office regarding missing children so one of our officers went door to door in the area asking if anyone had recognized the children."
Action News spoke with several people who live at the apartment complex who said they didn't recognize the toddlers. They were surprised to hear they were missing in their neighborhood.
Ron Hansen, who lives at the apartment complex, said, "That was a shock. I have kids myself so that kind of hit home."
Crystaline Hernandez also lives at Lacey West Apartments. She says "Oh my gosh, how does somebody not know their kids are missing? I would go insane."
Since no one had reported the kids missing, police were at a loss as to how to find their parents. The children were placed in foster care. In a strange turn of events, the foster parent's mother lived near the children's father -- and that's where they spotted the mother, who had returned back to the father's house to look for the children.
Lt. Hernandez said, "It appears the mother had dropped the children off with the father. The father in turn left the kids with a relative who apparently was intoxicated at the time and unable to care for the children."
The father, 25-year old Peter Davalos, is now facing charges for child endangerment. Police say he shouldn't have left the kids with a person who wasn't able to watch them.
Investigators are urging parents to be more vigilant when it comes to watching your children and making sure they're safe. Lt. Hernandez said, "It's very frustrating. Especially with two young children that age, they could have been abducted or hit by a car wandering the parking lot by themselves."
Hansen says "I'm a single parent. I have kids myself and that's unbelievable. It's hard to believe someone would actually do that."
The two children remain in the custody of Child Protective Services.