WALPOLE (CBS) – A group home in Walpole is under investigation after three boys ran away for nearly three hours in the middle of the night.
The boys, between the ages of 11 and 13, were “horsing around,” according to police, around the foyer of their dorm at the Longview Farm campus of the Home for Little Wanderers when one opened the door and they all ran outside around 11 p.m. Wednesday.
Workers at the facility told investigators they were short-staffed so they couldn’t go after the boys.
State Police K-9’s were brought in as authorities searched the campus. The boys were found safe about three hours later inside a 7-11 convenience store in Walpole Center.
“We believe what they did is after they fled from the building they got onto the MBTA tracks, they walked down to Walpole Center which is about 3-to-4 miles away and they kind of just hung out in there for a little while,” said Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael.
The 7-11 clerk told WBZ-TV the boys were buying a drink when a police officer walked into the store and he “stopped the kids and that was pretty much it.” More officers arrived, interviewed the boys and took them away.
“They are in DCF custody, these three individuals. However, we’re being told that one of these buildings may have been understaffed, so as a result, as we would with any case where there could be neglect involved, we’re going to file a 51A (child abuse and neglect reporting form),” Carmichael told reporters Thursday morning.
The facility is run by The Home for Little Wanderers under the umbrella of DCF.
In a statement, The Home for Little Wanderers said “Longview Farm is fully staffed in accordance with state regulations. Our staff acted accordingly in this case and contacted public safety officials immediately.”
A DCF spokesperson said they received a report about the incident and they are investigating.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports