Crews searching for a 22-month-old boy who vanished over the weekend from his home in Magoffin County, Kentucky, located the child alive on Wednesday, according to sheriff’s deputies.
Family members of 22-month-old Kenneth Howard reported he disappeared around 7:30 p.m. Sunday, according to WKYT. Family members said they believed he might have walked out the back door of his home, WYMT reported.
Update 3 p.m. EDT May 15: Crews searching for Kenneth found the toddler after they heard him crying, WLEX-TV reported. He was found in a "cliff area" about 2,000 feet from his home, according to the news station.
In a news release obtained by WKYT, Kentucky State Police said Kenneth was found at an old strip mine on the Magoffin-Floyd county line. Search crews had expanded their search to include the area earlier Wednesday.
Officials said Wednesday that Kenneth was being treated for dehydration. WKYT reported he was being taken to a hospital to be checked out. His parents have been notified that he’s been found, according to the news station.
Update 2:40 p.m. EDT May 15: Officials with the Magoffin County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Kenneth had been found in a statement posted Wednesday on Facebook.
Citing Magoffin County Search and Rescue Chief Carter Conley, deputies said Kenneth was being treated for dehydration but that he was “in remarkably good condition.”
“Thanks to all who prayed, searched and helped in any way!” Magoffin County sheriff’s deputies wrote on Facebook. “This is the best news ever !!!”
Additional details about how he was discovered were not immediately released.
Update 2 p.m. EDT May 15: Authorities on Wednesday widened the area they were searching to include an old, overgrown strip mine in Floyd County in hopes of finding Kenneth, WYMT reported.
Magoffin County Search and Rescue Chief Carter Conley said crews are using dogs, ATVs, helicopters and drones with thermal cameras to search the rugged terrain. Kentucky State Police also brought in horses to assist in the search, WYMT reported.
Kenneth’s family members have said the boy went missing Sunday night from his family’s home in Magoffin County. Kentucky State Police spokesman William Petry said there’s no evidence of foul play and a kidnapping would be odd in such a rural area, but police aren’t ruling out anything.
Update 3:55 p.m. EDT May 14: Kenneth’s father, Elden Howard, told WYMT that he’s offering a $5,000 reward for anyone who brings his son home.
“I would just like to see him come home safe,” Howard told the news station. “I guess it’s adrenaline. I can’t rest, can’t eat. I’ve ate one bologna sandwich since Sunday.”
Crews searched Magoffin County for hours Monday in hopes of finding Kenneth. However, the search was called off late last night without any sign of the boy. The search was resumed Tuesday, WKYT reported.
“We’ve searched everywhere we can think of ...(and) nothing’s showing up,” Howard told WYMT. “It’s just like he disappeared. No sign, no nothing. That’s the reason I’m starting to think, if we can’t find him, somebody’s picked him up.”
The search for Kenneth resumed Tuesday.
Original report: A Kentucky toddler who reportedly disappeared from his Magoffin County home Sunday still has not been found, authorities said Monday night.
According to WKYT, 22-month-old Kenneth Howard vanished about 7:30 p.m. Sunday, his family said.
"I think the dad may have been on the front porch talking with maybe one of his brothers," Magoffin County Emergency Management Director Robert Prater, a friend of Kenneth's family, told WYMT. "I think the child slipped out the back door."
Kenneth's family members called police after searching for the boy on their own, officials told WKYT. The Magoffin County Rescue Squad was alerted about 8:30 p.m.
Since then, crews have been searching a 1/2-mile area around the boy's home, which is surrounded by wooded terrain and a steep hillside, the news station reported.
"We've had to use a rope at a couple of places and tie off so they could go down into a ravine and do their search in that situation," said Magoffin County Search and Rescue Chief Carter Conley. "So it is very dangerous."
Helicopters, police dogs, off-road vehicles and drones have been used in the search, WLEX reported.
"There is no limit to the effort being made to find this sweet child," the Magoffin County Sheriff's Department said in a Facebook post Monday afternoon.
Authorities suspended search efforts Monday night, but volunteers continued to look for Kenneth, who has blond hair and blue eyes, according to WKYT.
Officials are urging anyone with information about the case to call the Sheriff's Department at 606-349-2914.
"There is no greater tragedy than not knowing the whereabouts of a child, and we will continue to do everything humanly possible to ensure he is found safe and sound and returned home to his family," the Sheriff's Department said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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