Video: Missing boy found at St. Patrick's cathedral

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    >>> authorities are hunting for the couple who abandoned a 3-year-old boy at new york 's famed st. patrick 's cathedral days after he was reported missing in florida . officials say nathanial fawn was unharmed and found with a note in his pocket. nbc 's ron allen has been following the developments in this story . what do we know regarding the people or person who dropped him off? was this a parent?

    >> reporter: no. it wasn't a parent. it was a friend of the parent apparently. they're looking. the nypd and the archdiocese are looking at surveillance cameras that were at st. patrick 's to kind of see who was around at this time sunday night when this happened. the key is a note. the boy had a note in his pocket with his name, telephone number , and the name of a florida detective as well. the florida detective is the person who arrested his mother back in florida on counterfeiting charges. she was trying to pass a phony $100 bill allegedly.

    >> she is behind bars ?

    >> she is and they found $5,000 in more counterfeit bills so the mom is in jail with a boyfriend. the father it's unclear, i believe he was arrested a couple weeks ago on some other charges and the mother apparently put the boy in the car with some friends when she was arrested. the friends are the leading suspects in possibly bringing the boy to new york and dropping him off and those friends are also now wanted by the police in connection with the counterfeiting.

    >> where is the boy now?

    >> st. patrick 's -- well no. he is at a hospital

By
updated 4/23/2010 2:44:39 PM ET 2010-04-23T18:44:39

The grandparents of a Florida toddler found wandering alone at St. Patrick's Cathedral were in New York on Friday, hoping for a reunion with the 3-year-old and clearance to take him home.

Donald and Frieda Fons of Land O' Lakes bought open-ended tickets because it's not clear when they will able to see their 3-year-old grandson Nathaniel, according to their son Ryan Fons. The boy will remain in foster care until legal and custody issues are resolved, according to the Administration for Children's Services.

"They heard there was a chance and they said, 'OK we're booking a flight,'" Ryan Fons told The Associated Press on Friday. "They were extremely excited to head up there."

Ryan Fons said his parents were told not to get their hopes up, but there was a possibility that they would be able to see their grandson, nicknamed Nathan, on Friday. He said children's services may want to see how Nathan responds to them since it has been almost a year since he saw them. They spoke to the boy Thursday via phone.

"They're nervous because they don't know how it's going to go, excited because they finally get to see him, hopefully, and just wishful I guess," Ryan Fons said. "He should recognize them. I don't know why he wouldn't. That's what we're praying for."

Nathaniel was found alone at the cathedral Tuesday evening with a note in his hand bearing the name of a detective in Florida and the words "call immediately." Eleanor Black, 29, was seen on surveillance footage at famed Fifth Avenue landmark moments before Nathaniel was abandoned, police said. William Scott, 32, was believed to have been with her.

Image: Donald and Frieda Fons
Chris O'Meara  /  AP
Donald and Frieda Fons hold a picture of their grandson Nathaniel Fons in their home Wednesday, April 21, 2010, in Land O' Lakes, Fla.

The couple in New York arrived Thursday evening. Staff from New York City's protective services has been in contact with social services officials in Florida and with the Fons. ACS said staff would meet with the grandparents, but the meeting was not open to the public.

Nathaniel and his parents had lived with the Fons until last year when their son William took a job on a fishing boat outside Vancouver, Wash. But he was arrested for failing to notify his parole officer and sent to jail in Florida, the family said. Records show William Fons is still jailed.

The grandparents wanted custody of their grandson, but his mother, Erin Comeau, took off with him, they said earlier this week. She had been traveling with her boy until her arrest Sunday in Florida on counterfeit charges. A couple traveling with her is suspected of taking Nathaniel north and leaving him at the cathedral.

"They have been through stress the past five days," Ryan Fons said of his parents. "They want to bring him back home. They were extremely sad when he left last June and went through a lot of stress then. It's finally about to be over, hopefully."

Flagler County authorities in Florida had issued a missing child alert for Nathaniel on Sunday, after Comeau was arrested on charges of operating a counterfeit money operation. Comeau, 26, told officials her son was in a separate car traveling with Black, Scott and their children. Their abandoned Chevy Suburban was found by Jacksonville sheriff's officials in a hotel parking lot.

New York City police said Thursday that the Black and Scott had skipped town and headed north. They are suspected in the same counterfeiting operation where Nathaniel's mother was arrested and would also face charges of endangering the welfare of a child in New York.

Comeau is being held in Florida. She said in a written statement that she would allow Donald and Frieda Fons temporary custody but did not want to "permanently lose her son."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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