Authorities said a woman driving on North Tryon first spotted the toddler walking down Tom Hunter Road just before 4:30 Wednesday morning and called 911.
Eyewitness News looked through court documents Thursday. According to those documents, Sharon Cuthbertson didn’t take the necessary precautions to secure the apartment.
"I just went over across the street and asked him and he kept saying my mama, like he was looking for his mama," the woman told dispatchers.
The woman and another man, who was walking by at the time, took the boy to a nearby Shell station where they waited for officers to arrive. Surveillance video there captured the image of the little boy being held by the good Samaritan, wearing only a diaper and adult-sized tennis shoes he apparently put on before he left the house.
"He was shaking a little bit, he didn't have no shirt on or nothing like that," said Shell worker Willie Cummings.
Cummings said they wrapped a jacket around the boy for warmth until police arrived and DSS took the toddler into custody.
Police spent hours Wednesday morning searching for the boy's parents, including knocking on doors at a nearby motel and using a reverse 911 system to place a call to homes in the area.
Just before noon, police said they found the boy's parents, and that's when they learned Cuthbertson had been babysitting the child when he wandered off.