A three-year-old boy who disappeared after migrating from his family home was found “alive and well” three days later in thick forests.
Jude Leyton miraculously survived sub-zero temperatures after disappearing into his family’s fishing cabin on Folsom Lake in Ontario, Canada around 11 a.m. on Sunday.
The toddler was found three days later about a kilometer from where it was last seen in a major search operation by locals and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).
Concern for Jude’s well-being had grown further as the temperature dropped to freezing, even though he was “well dressed for the weather”.
Bill Dickson, OPP spokesman, said, “He was wearing a winter jacket with a heavy woolen sweater on. He still had his boots on. So he did well for the elements, and that’s one reason he’s in so good shape I think it was. “
OPP officers, a canine squad, the underwater search and recovery unit, and members of the Ontario volunteer search and rescue teams combed the 200-acre resort on Canoe Lake Road to find Jude.
An emergency team that had expanded their search radius found Jude sleeping near an area of woodland known as the “beaver pond”.
Constable Curtis Dick said, “Four of our ERT members, part of the search and rescue team (team), had a different assignment, to check another area. While they were doing that assignment, they found Jude. It was a great finale for some very, very difficult days.
“There is a body of water attached to the property. So it was above that body of water. So a significant distance for sure.”
The teams struggled through the difficult terrain for nearly four days and three nights when Constable Scott McNames spotted Jude through the bushes.
The 53-year-old was off duty celebrating his birthday when reports of Jude’s disappearance came in.
The father of three bravely gave up his celebrations to join the search team, calling the search for Jude “the best day at work in 25 years”.
Constable McNames wrapped Jude in warm clothes and gave him some water before handing him over to his ecstatic parents.
He said when he found the boy he said to him: “Hello Jew, we are here to help you and we will take you to your mother and father.”
Jude is said to be “safe and sound”, but as a precaution he was admitted to the hospital, where he is questioned about his ordeal.
Mr. Dickson said, “It’s incredible.”
Jude’s relieved mother, poet Katherine Leyton, thanked her on Twitter the following afternoon.
She wrote: “We cannot express how we feel when we have our incredible, resilient son Jude safe in our arms again.
“Our entire extended family is overjoyed after what is undoubtedly the worst experience of our lives.
“Jude was brought back to us because of the tireless efforts and perseverance of the search and rescue forces, the OPP’s air and underwater teams, and the tireless efforts of volunteer searchers, firefighters and paramedics from the community.”
An avid Constable Dick added, “This is absolutely the best scenario we could hope for.
“Lots of smiles, very happy times. The teams, both the OPP and the volunteer search and rescue members, when you’ve been working so hard for so long, man, it’s a great feeling.”