HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- Back in the loving embrace of his mother on Friday night, 20-month-old DJ Maddox is just too young to understand the whirlwind of the last 24 hours, but his mother has counted every hour, minute and second worrying about his safety and his return home.
"It was horrible, my son is everything to me - not to have him with me," said Alandria Clark.
A paralyzing fear gripped Clark on Thursday when she went to pick up DJ at daycare on W. 127th Street - the innocent toddler was nowhere to be found.
"No one notified me, no one called - nothing," adds Clark.
She later learned that the daycare had released DJ to an ex-boyfriend without her permission.
"I'm upset with the daycare - they know not to give no one that's not on the contact card. I would have put someone on the contact card for someone to pick him up," said Clark.
Antonio Staton, 22, was seen walking with DJ shortly before he abandoned the baby boy near the steps of the basement apartment on 132nd Street. Clark believes Staton kidnapped her son in retaliation of their breakup.
"Me and him had a fight, but I never thought he would do all this, come for my baby," Clark says.
Alone and helpless, a woman later discovered DJ and called police. Still before he could be reunited with his mom, Clark had to go before a Family Court Judge on Friday, who granted her custody.
Prior to the emotional homecoming, Clark could only think of one thing.
"I'm gonna hug him and tell him I love him," she said.
Police are still on the hunt for Staton, and DJ's mom now has a restraining order against him.