Police: Child went missing for 2 hours when picked up by wrong school bus in Newark

Parents in Newark had quite the scare Tuesday morning when the wrong school bus came to pick up their daughter.

News 12 Staff

Jun 29, 2021, 9:30 PM

Updated 1,022 days ago

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Parents in Newark had quite the scare Tuesday morning when the wrong school bus came to pick up their daughter.
The child was supposed to go to the Kipp New Jersey Life Academy charter school, but instead ended up at the Fair Brook School in Short Hills.
“It was like an hour. It was a long ride,” says 7-year-old Esther Alvarado.
The girl was missing for about two hours but was found unharmed.
“I’m trying to process the whole thing that just happened and glad to find my little girl,” says father Henry Alvarado.
What happened was that a school bus showed up at the Alvarado home around 7:53 a.m. Tuesday, right on time to take Esther to school. Mom and dad waved at the driver, and the driver waved back before pulling away.
A few minutes later, the real school bus arrived and called the parents asking where Esther was. That’s when the parents called the police.
When Esther arrived at the school in Short Hills, she remained calm and gave the staff her mom’s phone number.
The bus that picked up Esther is owned by Mayor Transportation in Newark, which was hired to take kids from the region to Far Brook for a special academic program.
News 12 New Jersey is told that the Mayor bus driver had a list of children to pick up, but apparently never checked it and drove off with Esther.
News 12 called Mayor Transportation to find out how this happened, but a person at the company hung up when called.
The bus that picked up Esther looked similar to the regular bus, But Henry Alvarado thought that something wasn’t right.
"Something different was noticeable about this driver. It wasn't the same driver, and I felt something in my gut. I said, ‘Let's get my keys and follow the bus,’” Henry says.
Newark police say that they've been in touch with Mayor Transportation and confirmed the driver didn't check the name list.
Esther’s parents say that they are just happy she's safe and will make sure from now on that she's getting on the right bus.


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