JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– The father of two toddlers found wandering the streets of Jefferson County alone on Wednesday afternoon has been arrested.

Kyle McClelland has been arrested for criminally negligent child abuse not resulting in injury. McClelland, 25, remains in the Jefferson County Jail.

The children, ages 2 and 3, were found about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 5400 block of S. Quail Way after a neighbor found them wandering in the street by themselves.

Missing boys in Jefferson County (credit: CBS)

Missing boys in Jefferson County (credit: CBS)

Julie Thomas, a retired Jefferson County teacher, first spotted the boys outside her home. She said she waited for a frantic parent to come running after the boys, but no one showed up. Another neighbor called authorities as Julie kept the toddlers close by.

“They were so full of energy,” she said. “We sang our ABC’s and did the 123’s.”

Jeffco Sheriff tweeted out an alert about the boys.

Deputies went door-to-door in the area but were unable to find anyone who recognized the boys. An alert was sent out to 400 homes in the neighborhood via NextDoor.

“It’s curious to us that even the neighborhood can’t help us narrow down where these two might live,” said Jacki Kelley, spokesperson for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Kyle McClelland (credit: Jefferson County Sheriff)

Kyle McClelland (credit: Jefferson County Sheriff)

The boys’ father was found by 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and taken into custody after an interview with authorities.

The boys remain in the care of social services. Their mother does not live in Jefferson County. Investigators have been in touch with the boys’ mother.

“I’m just so relieved,” Thomas said. “I just can’t imagine where the parents would’ve been. I’m just glad we don’t have to go into the evening with our hearts in our stomachs.”

McClelland is expected to appear in court on Thursday.

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now reports for CBS4 News at 10 and is always open to story ideas. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.

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