On May 10, around 6:17 a.m., a 25-year-old man named Brandon Blouin walked out of the woods in Bend, Oregon looking for help.
He asked the stranger who owned the property he was on if they could call the police.
According to The Oregonian, Blouin and an 18-year-old female had been staying in the woods, sleeping in a SUV, when the friend walked off.Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office
Blouin told Deschutes County deputies that his and the woman’s one-year-old son, Bradley Thomas, was with him as he began looking for the woman.
However, during his search, Blouin sat the baby down in the woods and walked off. He came out of the woods asking for help because he couldn’t remember where he left his son.
A “massive search” that lasted more than six hours quickly ensued. As WYFF reports, drones, helicopters with thermal image sensors, and police on horseback aided in the search for the one-year-old.
Then Deschutes County detective Doug Jackson and a sheriff’s sergeant got lucky when they stumbled upon the sleeping child lying face down, covered in dirt and pine cones.
Detective Jackson told The Oregonian that they walked up on the child by following the unique footprints left behind by his father. The shoes Blouin was wearing left an imprint of a rainbow whereever he stepped.
Bradley was found about a mile from Blouin’s SUV.
When Bradley started making sounds as he was waking up, Jackson let out a sigh of relief. The sheriff’s sergeant used his coat to cover the naked child, who wasn’t seriously injured.
Jackson told The Oregonian:
“I don’t think we could’ve gotten a much bigger win than this. When you have a needle in a haystack situation like this, it could go a number of a different ways. It was very much a team effort, and I’m just thankful that we found the kiddo.”
According to WYFF, both Blouin and Bradley’s mother were allegedly under the influence of methamphetamines when Blouin lost their son. The mother was found around 5:30 a.m. on someone else’s property.
Blouin, who is originally from Belpre, Ohio, was later arrested on suspicion of first-degree criminal mistreatment, second-degree child neglect, third-degree assault, and endangering the welfare of a minor.
As WYFF reports, the assault charge is due to an injury the boy allegedly sustained while in Blouin’s care. Bradley’s mom is not currently facing any charges.
Jackson said Bradley is “doing incredibly well considering what he’s been through.”
The last time the detective saw the one-year-old he was smiling and eating, and they even played a round of peek-a-boo together.