By Robert Gearty
Published September 20, 2019
Police in western New York police said Tuesday they are investigating the discovery of an abandoned 3-year-old boy and a burned out car with human remains to see if they are connected.
The boy was found Monday morning around 8 a.m., sleeping on a stranger’s porch, Buffalo police said. Ten hours later cops found the vehicle a mile away behind a mini-storage. The woman who found the boy said the child kept saying "the car's on fire," according to a report.
Asked at a news conference Tuesday about a connection, Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said: "We are exploring the possibility of that."
He said the boy's grandparents in Florida identified the child and reported the boy's parents and a friend of theirs as missing.
"The vehicle was badly, badly damaged from the fire, almost to the point that we cannot tell what type of vehicle it is or the contents of the vehicle," Rinaldo said.
He said investigators believe the vehicle caught fire around 3 a.m. Monday. He said the boy was placed with child welfare workers and was in "good spirits."
The boy's grandmother told WKBW-TV Tuesday that his name was Noelvin.
His parents, 24-year-old Nicole Merced and 31-year-old Miguel Valentin, haven't been in touch with the family since Sunday, the station reported.
Lois Augsburger said she found the child at sleeping in a box that she leaves out on her front porch for stray cats.
“It was so traumatizing,” Augsburger told WKBW. “I said what are you doing and I picked him up and I hugged him.”
Cops took custody of the child.
“I said where’s your mommy, honey,” Augsburger told the station. "He says 'the car’s on fire, car’s on fire,' that’s all he kept saying.”
Police canvassed the neighborhood looking for the boy’s parents, Rinaldo said Monday.
"The child is not extremely verbal so it’s made it difficult for us to attempt to figure out exactly what the circumstances are surrounding the child's appearance,” Rinaldo said, according to WKBW.