Tania Avila, center, poses with police officers whom she worked with to reunite a lost toddler with his family. (Courtesy photo)

Renton teen helps RPD reunite lost toddler to family

Tania Avila, sophomore at Renton High School, received a letter of appreciation from Renton Police Department.

Tania Avila was home after school, cleaning her room, when she heard a knock at the door.

She was surprised to find officers from the Renton Police Department with a 3-year-old boy by their side.

The Renton High School sophomore described the boy as “oblivious” and said he didn’t have any shoes on.

The officers asked her if the boy lived there, and Avila said no. They explained to her the boy was lost and only spoke Spanish, and they were having difficulty helping him find his home. Since Avila is bilingual, she decided to help.

“I tried talking to him in Spanish. I only figured out that his mom was at work and he didn’t know where his sister was. He didn’t really mention his dad,” she said.

She noticed the boy seemed intimidated around the officers.

“They were big two guys in black uniforms. I tried to relate with him and I offered to do so. I felt really bad for the child,” she said.

The officers and Avila decided to walk around the neighborhood and see if the boy could identify his house.

“I was busy in the middle of something, so when they asked I was a little hesitant, but I did it anyway. He was a baby,” she said.

After walking around the neighborhood, the boy finally pointed to an apartment complex. His dad was outside the complex, looking for him.

Last Saturday, three weeks after the incident, Avila was awoken by another knock at her door. She was surprised to find police officers at her door, once again.

“They came to my house super early so I was asleep,” she said. “It was the weekend, and I wanted to sleep in. They (came in) and they were all serious. My family was really mad at me at first. As I walked to the door, I was wondering, ‘Gosh, what did I do?’ I was super confused.”

Officers had returned to her house to present her with a letter of appreciation. Her family was very excited, especially her grandmother who insisted on taking a photo.

Avila admitted she wasn’t in the mood to receive the letter at first.

“In the photo, I looked super ugly; I was in my pajamas and I was not in the mood. I was like, ‘We couldn’t do this around noon? When I’m actually up?’” she said.

The incident wasn’t one she felt she had to brag about to her friends. However, when Renton School District posted about her Good Samaritan deed on their Facebook page on Monday, she became the talk of the school.

“It wasn’t a big deal to me. Today (Monday), it has become a big deal and everyone has been coming up to me. People keep saying, ‘You didn’t tell me about it.’ But I was like, ‘I wasn’t really thinking about you guys.’”

Avila said she was happy to receive so many compliments.


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