Child found after wandering from party

A 5-year-old boy was found safe by a passing driver more than an hour after he walked through the woods away from a birthday party Feb. 6.

Children had been playing outside, with several adults supervising, near Camp Palawopec’s shelter house, said Deputy Greg Pittman, public information officer for the Brown County Sheriff’s Department.

When officers arrived, the boy had been missing for about an hour, Pittman said. He was one of the four deputies who responded along with Sheriff Scott Southerland.

“It was starting to get dark, so we were trying to figure out what we’re going to do at that point,” Pittman said.

A police dog was called in to search, and parents and camp workers who were already searching were called in so the dog could work. Officers had contacted the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department about getting a helicopter with thermal imaging, too, Pittman said.

Southerland was getting a handheld thermal imaging camera when a call came into dispatch from a person who found a child at the intersection of Clay Lick and Gatesville roads.

“Somebody driving along saw the child, stopped, called us and figured out it was him,” Pittman said.

The boy’s father was reunited with his son at the intersection, Pittman said.

The boy had traveled at least one mile straight through the woods.

“He really didn’t need any medical attention or anything. He was in pretty good shape,” Pittman said.

Suzannah Couch grew up in Brown County, reading the Brown County Democrat. A 2013 Franklin College graduate, she covers cops/courts, education and arts/entertainment.