Wednesday 21 February 2018

‘I was just so delighted to get him back’

Mother of Theo (2) who got out of cot and let himself out of the family home reveals mixture of shock and relief

Kathryn Hayes and Barry Duggan

The mother of a two-year-old boy who let himself out of his home at 2am and wandered a mile down a busy road, today said she is feeling a mixture of shock and relief at the incident.

Christine Costelloe spoke of her son Theo’s early morning adventure, which all played out while she was asleep.

“I was just so delighted I had him back,” Christine said.

“If I been awake and knew he was missing it would have been a lot worse but I knew he was safe and I had him back.”

Christine, who has two other children Jack (6) and Lauren (1), said: “"I am so relieved.

“It could have been a completely different outcome.

“Its good news all round and I am very grateful to the gardai."

Theo managed to get out of his cot and open the front door of his home in Limerick shortly after 2am on Wednesday morning.

Christine and her wandering two-year-old son Theo
Christine and her wandering two-year-old son Theo
Christine Costelloe and her wandering two year old son Theo with Garda Shaun O'Hogan and Garda Orlaith Ryan at Henry St. Garda station. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22
Theo Costelloe(3) with his grandad Greg Costelloe at Henry St. Garda station Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22

Without a care in the world, he took off walking along St Patrick's Road wearing his blue onesy and with his sister’s pink blanket.

He wandered down the main Limerick to Dublin road and made it more than a mile from his home.

A 21-year-old student, James Ryan, spotted the toddler when he was walking home from work and immediately alerted gardai. He gave the little boy his t-shirt as it was cold.

Officers quickly arrived to the scene, but the little boy was unable to give any address or tell the guards where he had absconded from.

Garda Shaun O'Regan and his colleague Orlaith Ryan – both of Henry Street garda station – immediately began making enquiries as to where the child's home was.

Theo was kept warm and entertained at the station – and was said to be un-fazed by the experience – while officers tired to find his parents.


The only clue as to where he had escaped from was an open door at the family home at Aspen Gardens, St Patrick’s Raod which was discovered by gardai at about 4am.

A shocked Christine was woken by the gardai and only then found out what had happened.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon the relieved mother said: “I was asleep and unaware of anything going on. I went to bed and I woke up and heard gardai downstairs calling, ‘Is anybody there?’

“When I went down they asked me had I a son and so I went and checked and my older son was in bed.

“I had just run back up stairs and I hadn't found Theo in his cot. They showed me a picture on the phone [of Theo] and I said yes it was him and they told me he’s safe.”

“I was so delighted I had him back,” she added.

Garda Ryan said the incident was a complete accident and could have happened to any parent, particulary at that age.

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