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Police: Toddler playing hide-and-seek got locked in hotel room safe

The odd case of the baby in the hotel safe has been solved, Canadian police said Thursday, explaining that news reports helped locate the Brooklyn family outside Toronto.

A spokesman for the Niagara Regional Police Service, the Canadian agency that handles law enforcement on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, told Newsday the incident resulted from a game of hide-and-seek.

"We're confident there was no crime committed," Det. Sgt. Scott Kraushar, in charge of the Niagara Regional Police Child Abuse Unit, said.

Police first believed the child involved was an infant, likely less than a year old.

The girl, it turned out, was 3 -- and got locked in the safe in the family's hotel room at the Howard Johnson by the Falls while playing with siblings, he said. She was in good health.

The incident occurred Tuesday morning and was reported to police, Kraushar said, after workers at the hotel freed the little girl from the room safe after being contacted by frantic family members.

The family, which had rented three rooms at the hotel, then left to continue their vacation before police could contact them for a statement.

Kraushar said that, after news reports, the family, traveling in a gray 2015 Ford 15-passenger rental van with New Jersey plates, was found staying with friends in Markham, Ontario, just outside Toronto.

"It appears that while the family was vacationing in Niagara Falls, the young child was accidentally locked inside the safe during a game of hide-and-seek between siblings," police said in a statement.

Kraushar said the girl, whose identity was not released, was found in good health.

He said no charges were pending. and said part of the difficulty in resolving the incident was a language barrier between the family involved and workers at the hotel and police.

"There was an 11-year-old sister and two other siblings and they were playing hide-and-seek," Kraushar said.

"The girl is a 3-year-old and she's a very tiny 3-year-old, and that led to the confusion," Kraushar said. That confusion first led investigators to fear the toddler had been put in the safe.

"Now," he said, "we know it's just an accident. Certainly one the family will remember for a long, long time."


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