- Toddler Kenneth Howard was found alive early Wednesday afternoon, three days after the 22-month-old was reported missing.
- Howard’s father told authorities that his son slipped out the back door of the house Sunday night, while he was sitting on the front porch.
- Search crews found the boy less than 2,000 feet from his home. He was dehydrated but in mostly good condition, with just a few minor scrapes.
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A toddler was found alive and well on Wednesday, nearly three days after he went missing from his home in rural Magoffin County, Kentucky.
Firefighters aiding in the search found 22-month-old Kenneth Howard in a wooded area less than 2,000 feet from his home just before 2 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Other than being dehydrated and having a few minor scrapes on his body, the boy was in good condition, a statement from the Magoffin County Sheriff’s Department said.
“That child is a true Kentucky mountain boy,” one official said, according to WYMT.
Kenneth slipped out the back door while his father was sitting on the front porch Sunday night, Robert Prater, director of Magoffin County Emergency Management and a friend of the family, told the Herald-Leader.
People searching for Kenneth almost lost hope
A massive search effort was launched to look for the boy, but they had begun to lose hope as the search entered its third day on Wednesday.
“I was froze to death and wet and every time I would think I was cold, I would think about that baby and then I’d about start crying,” Brent Handshoe, South Magoffin Fire Department assistant chief, told WYMT. “I don’t know. I just didn’t want to give up on him.”
It was an expert tracker who first heard the boy’s cries for help Wednesday afternoon, and helped lead crews in the right direction, according to WKYT.
Kenneth was taken by helicopter to a hospital to be treated for dehydration, but was due to be discharged on Thursday, WKYT reported.
His father told WYMT that he was in disbelief when he first heard that his son had been found.
“Disbelief, for a while,” Elden Howard said. “‘Til they told me they were sure it was him, and stuff, and I’d seen a picture. I said, ‘that’s my boy.’ Tickled me to death. Best thing that ever happened to me in my life.”
Authorities are still investigating what caused the boy’s disappearance.
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