NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – When a Long Island woman spotted a little girl playing by herself in a park last week her maternal instincts kicked in.
Pattie Zullo, of Ronkonkoma, said she was shocked to find 2-year-old Alexia Zambrotta alone at Heckscher State Park in East Islip last Tuesday.
“I just couldn’t believe that she was there with nobody,” Zullo said.
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports
The mother of three first noticed the little girl in the park’s playground.
“She was actually up on a slide that she should not have been on,” Zullo said.
Alexia was left behind after a field trip with Our Little Darlings Day Care, of Bay Shore, on Aug. 14, police said.
Police first became aware of the stranded child around 3:30 p.m. when Zullo alerted a lifeguard who then notified authorities. The daycare called police three hours later to ask if anyone had found the girl.
Zullo and Alexia were reunited Tuesday for the first time since the incident.
“It turned out very well,” Zullo said. “That’s all that matters.”
The state’s Office of Children & Family Services launched an investigation after learning about the alleged abandonment.
The agency determined that the center was putting the “health, safety, and welfare” of the children in “imminent danger,” spokeswoman Pat Cantiello said in an e-mail Thursday.
The day care may face criminal charges, including endangering the welfare of a child.