Imagine hearing your doorbell ring one night, and answering the door only to find a two-year-old boy on your doorstep.
It sounds odd, but that's just what one woman from a suburb of Houston, Texas experienced this week.
Thankfully, surveillance footage captured the woman who abandoned the boy at a stranger's doorstep, but police are still unraveling why he was left there.
"It was very alarming and very disturbing and my heart was hurting for that child."
In footage from the homeowner's doorbell camera, a woman in a white car can be seen pulling up to the driveway just after 8 p.m. Wednesday night.
In just 23 seconds, the woman pulls the boy and his bags out of her car, drags them up the home's front steps, rings the doorbell, and runs back to her car.
Police say the homeowner arrived at her door just seven seconds later, but by then the woman was already gone.
MCTXSheriff Investigates Abandoned Child
Update 9:20 am: With the help of our local media and our community, the father of the abandoned child has been located. PIO in route to Legends Ridge Drive to provide more details. Please share with your family and friends and help us locate this woman and identify the child and reunite him with family. For Immediate Release October 18, 2018 MCTXSheriff Investigates Abandoned Child On October 17, 2018, at about 8:20 pm, Deputies with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched a residence in the 30700 block of Legends Ridge Drive, Spring, Texas in reference to a located person. The 911 caller advised that she heard a knock at her door and when she went to answer the door she found a 2 year old black male child standing at her door with no adult. When Deputies arrived they viewed video surveillance and observed a black female arrive at the residence in a white passenger car. The suspect is observed running toward the front door of the residence while lifting the child in the air by one arm. Once the suspect arrives at the front door she rings the door bell, knocks on the door and then flees back to her vehicle abandoning the 2 year child and two bags she was carrying. The entire incident lasted 23 seconds. The suspect appears to be in her mid-20’s to early 30’s with long hair reaching below her waist. Suspect also has multiple tattoos on her right arm that can be seen in the video. At this point the identity of the suspect and the child are unknown. The child is uninjured and appears to be in good health. Child Protective Services responded to the scene and took custody of the child and are assisting in identifying the child’s family. If anyone has any information regarding the child or female suspect, please contact the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office 936-760-5800 or contact Multi-County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-392-STOP (7867) and refer to case# 18A299244. Information Source Lieutenant Scott Spencer Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Executive Division Follow us on: @MCTXSheriffPosted by Montgomery County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, October 17, 2018
But the homeowner had no idea who the little boy was, or what he was doing in front of her home.
The Montgomery County Sheriff's Department released the shocking footage to the public, hoping someone could identify the woman in the video.
"I was gut-wrenched," Lieutenant Scott Spencer said about watching the video. "It was very alarming and very disturbing and my heart was hurting for that child."
Thankfully, police said the boy was "uninjured and appears to be in good health."
"A big misunderstanding."
The mystery of the little boy's appearance was solved Thursday morning, when the homeowner's next door neighbor, Willie Simmons, left his house and found reporters camped out on his street.
After watching the video, Simmons immediately recognized the boy as his son, Royal, and revealed that the woman in the video was a friend of his wife.
Simmons later told police his wife had arranged for her friend to drop Royal off at his home Wednesday afternoon.
When she didn't show up, Simmons said he assumed plans had changed, and left his house for the night.
Obviously, the friend had dropped Royal off at the wrong house, but police made it clear she was not off the hook.
"The female in the video then left the location without verifying anyone was home or who she was releasing the child to," Spencer said, "which placed the child in great danger."
Local news reports say that Royal has since been released back to his mother, after an emergency meeting with the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services.
Meanwhile, police say they are still investigating the woman who dropped Royal off at the wrong home.
"What if my neighbor wasn’t there?" Simmons asked. "Then my son would have been roaming up and down the street."
"That was very irresponsible. The lady who dropped my son off, she needs to be held accountable."
Royal's mother would only call the case "a big misunderstanding."