Gunner Watts, 3, talks about escaping unnoticed from a Kaysville preschool on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018.
Tanner Siegworth, Deseret News

KAYSVILLE — Three-year-old Gunner Watts' first day of preschool could've been straight out of an episode of the cartoon "Rugrats."

"He's an escape artist," said his mother, Suzanna Watts.

The boy used his flair for escape Monday to walk out the front door of Apple Tree Schoolhouse, 283 N. 300 West in Kaysville, and make it down the street to the intersection of 300 West and 200 North, about 450 feet away from the school.

"I just runned off," the 3-year-old later explained.

No one at the preschool noticed Gunner's absence. A woman saw the toddler and called police, and an officer walked him back to the school.

Suzanna Watts then got a surprising phone call.

"I have Gunner here and want to let you know some lady picked him up," a police officer said, according to the mother.

"My heart dropped. I didn't even know what to expect. When I heard the words, 'I have your son,' I was like, 'Wait, what?'" Watts recalled.

She says when she went to the school to find out what had happened, a worker "apologized and started to cry."

"And I appreciate that she was sorry, but if this had a different outcome, sorry is not enough," Watts said.

She said Monday was her son's first and last day at the school.

"I got my refund. I'm grateful for that, but I could care less about the money. It's about my child's life," Watts said.

Kaysville police said there likely won't be criminal charges filed against the preschool because of the incident. But they turned the investigation over to the Division of Child and Family Services to look into whether the school is safe.

The Apple Tree Schoolhouse did not immediately respond to a request for comment.