Rodney Blackwell was taking his dog on a morning walk when he saw a little boy also on a stroll all by himself wandering near one of Petersburg's busiest streets.
"[It] seemed so strange," he says. "Where's parents this time of morning?"
That was the Petersburg Police Department's same question
"Whenever police asked where he lived… what his name was… he didn't really have definitive answers," says spokesperson Esther Hyatt. "Police did a cursory check of the neighborhood and then started knocking on doors.
Having no luck identifying the boy, police started reaching out to media partners. Neighbors began their own canvass of the area
"I just walked all the way around Wythe Street …back down Washington Street.. to see if anybody had heard about mother or anything," says neighbor Michelle Washington.
When a woman who identified herself only as Tiffany arrived home near where the child was found, she wondered if the mystery boy could be her nephew. Wondering became knowing the second we received the boy's picture from police.
"That's my nephew!" she said.
8News followed along with the family as they rushed to Social Services to be reunited with little Darnell who at this point was telling other reporters and the police that he was ready to go home.