‘You couldn’t ask for a better ending’: Missing child found safe after hours of searching in Madison County

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MADISON COUNTY, Ind. — The search for a missing 3-year-old in Madison County has ended.

Police say the boy has been found alive and appears to be in good condition. He was located in a ditch, police said.

“The outpouring of mutual aid today was incredible,” said Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger. “Regardless of how many hours and how much effort you put in, you couldn’t ask for a better ending.”

Information about the boy’s disappearance came out overnight. Later in the morning, a Silver Alert was issued. It has since been canceled. While police initially said the boy was 4 years old, the Silver Alert described him as being 3 years old.

“The young man has been found and appears to be very safe,” Mellinger told reporters in an update just before noon.

“[He] seems to be in great condition,” Mellinger said. “We are having him checked out by paramedics.”

Mellinger said the boy had been “curled up” in a ditch across from the entrance to the subdivision. He may have been there for quite some time, the sheriff said.

Justin Harmeson, a member of the Chesterfield Fire Department and employee of the sheriff’s office, was directing traffic at Grandview Drive and State Road 13 when he heard whimpering.

He went across the road and peered into the ditch, where he found the boy. The child looked up and raised his arms as if he wanted someone to pick him up. Harmeson scooped up the 3-year-old and radioed for help.

The boy, who complained of being cold, had no visible injuries. After being checked by paramedics, he was taken to IU Health Riley Hospital for further evaluation.

Before being found, the boy was last seen on camera around 1:30 a.m. walking alone from his home in the Springbrook neighborhood. That is on State Road 13 between I-69 and Fortville.

Mellinger says five drones were deployed in the search for the child as well as a helicopter from Indiana State Police.

Officials also confirmed divers from Indianapolis Fire Dept. and other agencies were helping in the search. The area has large retention ponds as well as natural bodies of water.

One of the biggest concerns surrounding the child’s disappearance was the weather.

People who live nearby were asked to check every aspect of their property and security cameras to see if they had captured footage of the boy.

Officials had asked the public to refrain from joining the search, saying they had resources and people who were familiar with the area. Our crews took photos of a woman who was looking near a pond across from the Springbook subdivision.

Deputies had been with the family around the clock during the search effort.

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