Missing Oologah Special Needs Child Found Safe

Friday, August 17th 2012, 11:42 am
By: Craig Day

Rogers County sheriff's deputies and area firefighters searched for most of the day for a special needs boy who walked away from his home south of Oologah early Friday morning.

After 11 hours of searching, the missing 10-year-old Rogers County boy was found safe and has now been reunited with his family

Friday was a long, worry-filled day for search crews and the boy's family, but now they're all relieved and thankful.

The search for a little boy named Ian began early in the morning.

Family members say he left his home with a backpack and rubber boots.

Firefighters and other rescue personnel soon set up a command center outside of his home and begin searching.

"The biggest worry is going to be wildlife," said search leader David Puckett. "We've already had coyotes that were spotted by searchers and a bobcat that was spooked up by the searchers."

Ian is 10 years old, but has a developmental disability, meaning he's more like a 6 year old, emotionally.

Searchers worried right off the bat that he could put himself in danger, because of the rugged terrain and close proximity to the Caney River.

"Just the terrain, and the wooded area itself it's difficult to navigate through it, and to see a lot of area," Puckett said.

Dozens of law enforcement officers, firefighters and volunteers searched throughout the day on four-wheelers and horses.

A Tulsa County Sheriff's Office helicopter was also brought in as patrol cars went up and down county roads.

A search and rescue team from neighboring Mayes County also helped.

"You just find him as quick as you can, the quicker the better," said Tyler Bruce, with Mayes County Search and Rescue.

After 11 hours of searching, word finally came that he'd been discovered.

People passing by spotted him in an open field about a mile and a half away, and called Oologah Police.

"[He's] pretty hot. He looks okay. We gave him some water, but [he] seems to be doing fine," Oologah Police Chief Novale Thompson said. "I'm relieved, because this has been all day long."

The little boy was brought back to the command center and checked out by medical personnel, as a precaution, but showed no signs of any injuries.

He was then reunited with his family. Search teams are glad everything turned out okay.

"We had several sightings throughout the day, and one just happened to pay off and we're just glad," Puckett said.

When asked what he was doing all day, the little boy said he was just out walking around.

He told police he saw the helicopter and an airplane, but didn't realize it was looking for him.