News

Boy, 7, Locked In Closet For Hours At After-Care Center

Lapray Hunt Finally Discovered By Police After Being Pushed In By 12-Year-Old

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 7-year-old boy was supposed to be on his way home from after-school care last week, but it turned out he was locked in a closet for hours after being pushed inside by an older child.

As CBS 2’s Don Champion reported Tuesday night, Lapray Hunt was back to his playful ways three days after the incident. It was sight for which his mother, Monique Hunt, said she couldn’t be more thankful.

“That was a parent’s worst nightmare,” she said.

The nightmare for Monique Hunt happened on Friday, when Lapray was supposed to arrive home from after-care at the Bronx River Community Center around the corner from the building where he and his mother live. A neighbor or friend usually picks him up.

When Lapray didn’t make it, Hunt started making calls.

“I called twice and they assured me that he was picked up,” she said.

But in reality, Lapray had not been picked up. And after searching her building and neighborhood, Monique called the police.

Officers eventually got inside the locked and closed-down community center, where they made the shocking, but relieving, discovery that Lapray was fast asleep in a locked closet.

“People make mistakes, but that’s negligent on somebody else’s job that they didn’t do,” Hunt said.

Hunt said her son cried himself to sleep after being pushed in the closet by a 12-year-old. Even more troubling, he likely had been in there up to five hours.

Lapray called the closet “scary and dark. The knob was jammed; there were two knobs.”

CBS 2 tried talking to center managers about the blatant mix-up, but no one would comment.

But in a statement from the Department of Youth and Community Development, a representative said, “We are taking this matter very seriously and will be conducting a thorough investigation of the incident.”

Monique Hunt said she was thankful, but understandably bothered by what happened.

“He doesn’t want to go back, and I’m not going to make him go back,” she said. “I’m just happy that he’s fine; just happy he’s here alive with us.”

Lapray had been going to the after-care center for about two years. He was so shaken up by what happened that on Tuesday night, his mother said she is going to be taking him to therapy.

Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com: