Thanks to a good Samaritan, a 3-year-old boy who wandered from his home on the East Side of St. Paul during subzero temperatures early Sunday was rescued without serious injury, St. Paul police said.

Just after 2 a.m. Sunday, officers responded to a call of a child outside in the cold and not properly dressed, spokesman Steve Linders said. A 49-year-old woman had seen the boy, dressed in a stocking cap, pajamas and boots, shivering in the cold in the middle of the street and trying to get into the Roosevelt Community Center on Ames Avenue. The temperature was about 14 below zero, with a windchill of 33 below.

Two responding officers wrapped the boy in their jackets and put him into a squad car to warm up until fire paramedics arrived. He was taken to Regions Hospital to be evaluated.

"Thankfully and luckily, he's going to be OK," Linders said.

While one officer followed the ambulance to Regions, the other stayed behind to try to find the boy's parents. A short time later, the boy's mother, frantic with worry, showed up at the scene. She told the officer the boy's father was watching him but had to leave. The parents were talking on their cellphones, but the mother's battery died, Linders said.

When the mother arrived home, she found the door open and the boy gone.

"We got incredibly lucky," Linders said. "Right now, we're talking about a drama. If not for the good Samaritan, we could be talking about a tragedy."

Investigators went to the boy's home to try to figure out what happened. It turned out to be a "terrible case of miscommunication," Linders said. The boy is "well cared for and obviously loved," he said.