PRINCETON – On Wednesday, November 20, a two-year-old child was found in a single in Bloomberg during a routine fire inspection. The toddler was discovered sitting in a hamper-turned-playpen, playing with a sock and a hot pink sports bra.
“I was shocked when I saw him,” says George Caplan, the fire inspector who made the discovery. “In my twenty years working here, I’ve walked in on a couple fist fights and uncovered a few thriving pot plants, but never has there been anything like this!”
Unsure if he could categorize the two-year-old as a block to the room’s means of egress, Caplan called the Housing Office which notified the Department of Public Safety. Officials identified the child as Jacob Willis, younger brother of James Willis ’17 and reported missing when he was separated from his parents in the main food line of Wu/Wilcox Dining Hall. University officials called the Willis family and sent Jacob to West College to color on early action applications until his parents came in from Lawrenceville to pick him up.
“It all happened so fast,” says Mrs. Willis, recalling the events of that day. “One minute we were getting in line together, the next we were waiting for food, the next we were still waiting for food, the next we could kind of see what we were waiting in line for and decided we didn’t actually want any of it, and the next our beautiful son was gone!”
The student living in the room where Jacob was found will have a hearing in front of an appropriate disciplinary committee once the appropriate disciplinary committee for kidnapping a child from a dining hall is determined. After meeting with University officials, the Willises have agreed to not press charges in exchange for an additional ten guest swipes for their son James and an extra $5 on James’s daily Late Meal quota.
– ACD ‘16