Police and search teams have scoured eastern Kentucky’s hillsides in hopes of finding a missing 22-month-old who slipped out of his back door while his dad wasn’t looking.
Robert Prater, a family friend, told WYMT, “I think the dad may have been on the front porch talking with maybe one of his brothers. I think the child slipped out the back door.”
Since Sunday evening, officials have searched the wooded hillside of the rural Southern Magoffin County community, with everyone praying that the blonde hair, blue-eyed toddler is still alive.
Magoffin County Sheriff Carson Montgomery told WKYT: “I mean how far can a 22-month-old child get? So at this time, we’re just concentrating on this area.”
One of the biggest challenges of the rescue mission is the rugged terrain of the small community. The little boy was last seen on Sunday night around his home at 7:30 p.m. before his family reported him missing.
Some volunteers are digging out a culvert along the road. Other volunteers say crews are getting ready to check a well on the property close to the house. pic.twitter.com/AVyYW1evDt
— Garrett Wymer (@GarrettWKYT) May 14, 2019
Prater added: “It’s gut-wrenching. It really is. As cool as it got last night and the rain, you start to worry about hypothermia.”
They called police after 60 minutes of looking for the boy in the area and the search has been ongoing ever since.
Family and friends believe curiosity caused the toddler to wander away from the family home. Tip Conley, a friend of the family recalled, “He was really interested in getting into everything. But you know, he was smart.”
Chief Carter Conley said:
“We always hope, we always pray, that a 22-month-old will be found safe. We feel that God has led us today with everything we do, and so we hope that He’ll continue to do that as we go forward.”
The family said they’re holding on to hope as K9 teams, helicopters, and drones comb through the densely forested area in search of the child.
So far crews have found no signs of Kenneth Howard, who also goes by the name “Bubby.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 606-349-2914 or Magoffin County dispatch at 606-349-4403.
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