ST. GEORGE — A 2-year-old boy made it back safely with his family after wandering away from a northern Arizona campsite last week. Authorities are crediting the success in finding the child to the incident being quickly reported as well as the quick response and availability of emergency responders.
At approximately 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, authorities were dispatched to a report of a 2-year-old boy who had wandered away from his family’s campsite south of Williams, Arizona, near Hyde Hill, according to statement issued by the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.
The family, consisting of four adults and five children from the Phoenix area, were setting up their camp when they realized the child was missing, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
“They had last seen him approximately 20 minutes prior,” officials said, “and he had been playing with the other children next to the campsite.”
Coconino County Sheriff’s deputies responded to initiate the investigation, establish containment of the search area and coordinated bystanders and family who wanted to assist in the search.
Members of the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, Flagstaff Patrol District, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Williams Fire Department and personnel from the Kaibab National Forest also responded to help with the search.
At around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the child was located by a deputy near a road approximately 0.7 miles northwest of the family’s camp, officials said, noting that the child was in “good condition” and was reunited with family members.
“We credit the success in finding the child to several factors, including that the report was called in timely and that sheriff deputies were able to get to the scene quickly,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “The search also was greatly aided by the availability and response of emergency responders from other agencies.”
A similar incident in Coconino County two years ago did not end with the same successful outcome.
In August 2015, 5-year-old Jerold Williams also went missing in Coconino County after walking away from his family’s campsite. Over the course of several days, hundreds of people from multiple counties and agencies joined in the search for the 5-year-old boy from Colorado City, Arizona.
Williams had been missing for five days and four nights in Kaibab National Forest when his body was found near Jacob Lake, Arizona, approximately 3.7 miles, point to point, from the last place he had been seen. He was found fully clothed and had no obvious external injuries.
Following an autopsy, officials concluded the boy died from environmental exposure. Officials said they believe Williams likely died within the first 24 hours after he went missing.
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