HAMILTON (CBS) — A 2-year-old girl who went missing in Hamilton early Friday morning was found alive several miles from her home, but she was naked, hurt and her head was shaved.
Investigators are questioning a former babysitter as a person of interest in the girl’s disappearance.
Hamilton Police Chief Russell Stevens said the child was located just as police were preparing to issue an Amber Alert.
She is now in fair condition at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Stevens said he cannot confirm if the girl was taken from her home or if she wandered off.
“We’re trying to put the pieces together right now,” Stevens told reporters at a late morning news conference.
At about 7 a.m., the girl’s parents called 911 to report her missing after saying they had last seen their daughter in their Lincoln Avenue home at 3 a.m.
A massive search was launched and the house was surrounded by police tape.
Stevens would not say where the little girl was found, other than that she was located in an area where a passerby could spot her.
However, an Ipswich couple driving through Rowley, about eight miles away from the child’s home, told WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano they spotted the toddler just off Wilkes Road shortly before 10 a.m.
They said the girl was shivering “naked, sitting in a pile of leaves” and she had a contusion on her head, which was also shaved. The couple bundled her up and kept her in their car until police arrived.
She was rushed to Beverly Hospital where she was re-united with her parents. She was later moved to Boston Children’s Hospital.
A Massachusetts State Police spokesman said the area where the girl was missing from is being treated as a crime scene until police can determine what happened.
Chief Stevens reassured Hamilton residents that there is not a threat to the public.
“I’m very connected to the people that live in this town. I’ve been here six years as the chief of police. And if I thought the parents should be concerned, I would be the first one standing in front of this microphone and your cameras telling them to be concerned,” Stevens said. “So right now I would say no, you do not need to be concerned.”
WBZ-TV’s Katie Brace reports
The girl’s father returned home with a police escort to pick up belongings before leaving the area again.
Neighbors were stunned by the police action. An older preschool-age child lives in the house in addition to the 2-year-old.
No other information is available at this point in the investigation.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports