NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A woman who was found shot to death in St. Claude Sunday night was the mother of a seven-year-old boy who was reported missing but then found safe hours later, according to police.
The child, who we named in a previous report but have since redacted due to the circumstances, was the son of the woman found in the 3800 block of North Prieur. It wasn't until the investigation was launched that police started to make the connection.
"After the homicide investigation was underway, we learned later from neighbors and from actual photos inside that kids actually lived inside the residence," said Lt. Regina Williams.
According to The New Orleans Police Department, the boy had walked to his neighbor's house, who we are only identifying as J.D.
J.D. said the boy arrived at his house Sunday night to spend time with one of his children.
"There were a lot of time periods where she left him alone, so I took him in as the neighborhood dad," J.D. said.
The boy wound up staying longer than planned and ate dinner with them.
J.D. said the boy's mother was not around often, and he spent time with his family on a regular basis.
"I only met her once, she was so rarely home I never saw her," J.D. said. "It was getting dark and I said 'Hey where's your mom?' He used my phone and tried to call her but she didn't answer."
According to J.D., the boy tried to go home but the door was locked.
The boy asked J.D. if he could stay at their house until his mother got back, and he said yes.
"Last night, the kids were still awake. They were playing video games and we heard probably what sounded like 10 gunshots,"
said J.D. "So, my kids came running out of the bedroom and they're like 'Did you hear that?' And I said Yeah, it sounded like shots."
J.D. said the boy asked him if it was someone firing fireworks.
"In light of what it was, its really tragic thing for him to hear," J.D. said.
J.D. said Monday morning he went to class at UNO when one of his children texted him.
His child was with an FBI agent in their home, and they asked him to return regarding a situation with the boy.
According to J.D., the FBI agent confirmed to him that the boy's mother was killed and an endangered child alert had been issued for him.
J.D. said that a grief counselor will be working with the boy going forward.
This is a developing story. Fox 8 Local First will provide more updates as information becomes available.