'Missing' kindergartener found safe in Danbury

DANBURY -- A kindergarten student from Hayestown School got on a bus Tuesday instead of showing up for an after-school program in the cafeteria, but was located "safe and sound," according to Danbury Police, who were notified of the incident as soon as the child went missing, according to Lt. Christian Carroccio.

Schools Superintendent Sal Pascarella said his office was notified by the school principal, who was told a child had not shown up for the after-school program. A program staff member told the principal the child did not arrive, Pascarella said.

According to Pascarella, the student reportedly got on a bus instead. Pascarella said the student is in kindergarten and previously had attended a pre-school program at Hayestown.

"When he didn't show up at for the program, the principal was notified and called us," Pascarella said. We contacted the bus company and sent out a robocall (parent notification call) to all the parents. When we didn't hear back from the bus company right away and (no parent) called from the robocall, we notified police. We found out later that we hadn't heard back from the bus right away because they were having problems with the radio at the time."

Danbury Police Lt. Christian A. Carroccio said police were notified of the missing child at around 3:30 p.m. and that he was located in about 30 to 40 minutes.

"Officers and a canine established a perimeter, searching for him in the area surrounding Hayestown School and notified the bus company. Once they established contact with a certain bus, the child was brought back to the bus depot," Carroccio said.

Carroccio said he also heard the bus was having radio problems in contacting the school early in the incident.

Carroccio said that after officers determined the student was safe and on a bus they went to Hayestown, where the youngster's parents were waiting to hear about their child.

The school had phoned the parents to alert them about the incident, Carroccio said.

"The officers picked up the parents and brought them to Lee Mac Avenue (the depot) where the child was returned on the bus," Carroccio said.

While this was an isolated incident in Danbury Tuesday, the first day of school, it does occur on occasion, according to Carroccio and Pascarella.

"Inevitably, youngsters follow playmates and sometimes get on the wrong bus, but we anticipate it and put on extra staff at the school and the transportation company puts on extra staff," Pascarella said.

"The bus drivers are instructed if there is no one to pick up a child they are not to be dropped off and are to be returned to the barn. All protocols were followed. We all met at the barn and I talked to the dad. Thankfully, the child was safe and sound."