SALINA, Okla. - Parents of the Mayes County toddler who was missing for 26 hours after wandering from home shared their message of gratitude after the boy was found safe Thursday.
Carlie Young and Spencer Haddock said they took Jesse Young to the doctor for a check-up Friday afternoon and was told their son is fine.
The parents told News On 6 they still can’t believe their two-year-old had only scratches and a few ticks on him after walking two miles alone in the woods.
Young said she last saw Jesse playing with a toy outside and thinks he may have followed a deer when he wandered off their Mayes County property Wednesday around 11 a.m.
“The first couple of hours was like, ‘OK,’ but once it started getting dark, I got nervous and hoped for the best but prepared for the worst,” said Young.
Several family members, who are first responders, started looking for Jesse with a lot of help from the community.
“It was nerve wracking,” said Haddock. “A lot of fear but tried to stay hopeful, and tons of people from around the world were praying for us. That helped.”
By Thursday, about 300 volunteers and first responders were searching from the air and on the ground.
Around 1 p.m., Jesse’s family got the news they had been praying about: Volunteers on horse-back found the boy two miles from home, wearing only a pull-up diaper and one shoe.
“I just broke down and cried, and I wanted to make sure that his uncle, Steve, was with him,” said Young. “That he knew somebody there.”
People cheered as Jesse’s uncle, Steve Smith, brought the boy back home.
Jesse’s parents said he may have drank water from a creek while he was gone.
They said their son wanted chips and doughnuts for this first meal back home.
Jesse hasn’t said much about what happened while he was gone, and it’s unknown if he’ll remember much.
His parents said they’ll never forget the community’s kindness.
As for what’s next for the Jesse, who turns three in June, his parents hope things will be quiet.
“Other than just keeping an eye on him,” said Young. “Don’t let him be as independent. I don’t think anything’s really going to. I hope not. I hope he gets to stay. Everything stays normal.”