Two Brooklyn toddlers allegedly abandoned by a day care aide in a Long Island mall Wednesday afternoon have been reunited with their parents.
Emerging from a Suffolk County police station Thursday night, 2-year-old Tyler and 3-year-old Abigail clung to their parents as they headed home for the first time in two days.
"He's tired," said Tyler's father said as he held his son. "He just wants to get home as soon as possible."
Pollyanna Craig, the boy's mother, said, "We're just happy to have him back."
Abigail waved hello from her father's arms. Her mother, Sue Green, said "We're just happy to have our baby. I couldn't sleep."
Authorities say Nicole Noble, the aide from Elite Christian Daycare in Brooklyn, took the 2-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl to the Westfield South Shore Mall and allegedly abandoned them there Wednesday. The children, who are not related, were found playing by themselves.
Tyler's mother, Pollyanna Craig, told NBC 4 New York it's common for aides from the day care to take children out after school, but they usually stay in the neighborhood and then bring the kids home. She said she reported Tyler missing Wednesday night when he didn't come home.
Craig received a call from police the next morning.
"A detective from this precinct called me and told me they had Tyler. I'm like, 'Where are you guys located?'" she said. "He said Long Island. I'm like, 'Are you kidding me? What's Tyler doing out on Long Island?"
"Suppose someone else found him, I would never see him again," she said. "This story would be a different story then."
Tyler's parents told NBC 4 New York Tyler and Abigail were taken into the custody of child protective services workers. The children's parents filled out paperwork to be reunited with their children, and had been waiting since 6 a.m. to see them.
Noble, 34, of Brooklyn, was charged with two counts of abandonment of a child and two counts of endangerment of a child, police said. She entered a plea of not guilty, according to her lawyer, who declined further comment.
A law enforcement source tells NBC 4 New York the day care worker went to a Macy's in the mall to "return something."
Prosecutors said Noble said she was trying to teach the children a lesson about hide-and-seek while shopping.
Noble's brothers said that they thought she had a mental breakdown and did not know that she left the children from the day care.
Green, Abigail's mother, said she knows the aide and was shocked by her alleged actions.
"She's very soft-spoken. I don't know what happened. We haven't gotten any specific details," she said, adding that Abigail's father's family had enrolled their children at the day care for years and had never had any issues.
Elite Christian Daycare hung up the phone when contacted by NBC 4 New York.
Sheldon Dutes and Pei-Sze Cheng contributed to this report.