A 22-month-old boy who went missing from his home in rural eastern Kentucky was found safe near an old mine this afternoon, after surviving nearly three days alone in rough terrain.

State police said in a tweet Kenneth Howard was discovered alive just before 2pm in Floyd County in the area of an old strip mine. He was taken by a helicopter to a pediatric trauma center to be examined.

A photo from the rescue operation emerged late Wednesday afternoon showing Kenneth wearing only a diaper and surrounded by volunteers.

Captain Carter Conley, of the Magoffin County Rescue Squad, said the young boy is being treated for dehydration, but is otherwise ‘in remarkably good condition.’

His parents have been notified of his discovery.


‘Mountain boy’: Kenneth Howard, 22 months old, is pictured surrounded by rescuers on Wednesday afternoon in rural eastern Kentucky

Kenneth Howard, 22 months Toddler went missing in rural eastern Kentucky on Sunday (pictured before disappearance)

Found! Officials found the toddler at 2pm Wednesday after an intense search (pictured left and right before his disappearance)

A search and rescue team is pictured jumping for joy after learning that Howard has been found alive and well
A search and rescue team is pictured jumping for joy after learning that Howard has been found alive and well

Kenneth was last seen playing in the yard of his family
Kenneth was last seen playing in the yard of his family’s home in Magoffin County (pictured) at 7.30pm on Mother’s Day

According to officials, Kenneth, who is just two months shy of his second birthday, was discovered at the bottom of a steep 50-foot hill located 1,755 feet away from his home, reported WTVQ.

A search team with an expert tracker heard the toddler’s cry and then used a basket tied to a rope to pull him to safety.

One official marveled at the child’s ability to make his away across the treacherous terrain and get as far as he did, calling him ‘a true Kentucky mountain boy,’ reported WYMT.

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News outlets reported earlier that Magoffin County Emergency Management Director Robert Prater said the original search area was a half-mile radius from the home but widened to about 1 mile and included the old, overgrown mining operation.

Chief Conley said crews and volunteers were using bloodhounds, horses, ATVs, helicopters and drones with thermal cameras to comb through the rugged terrain in search of the toddler.

Kentucky State Police spokesman William Petry previously said there was no evidence of foul play.

Kenneth was last seen in his front yard at Racoon Hill at around 7.30pm on Sunday and was reported missing by his family an hour later.

His mother, Samantha Moore, said in an emotional interview with WTVQ on Tuesday that her son was outside their home with his father late on Mother’s Day when he went around the back of the house.

Elden Howard Samantha Moore

The boy’s parents, Elden Howard (left) and Samantha Moore (right) pleaded for their son’s safe return nearly three days into his disappearance

When Kenneth’s dad, Elden Howard, went looking for him, the boy was nowhere to be found.

‘It’s like he just disappeared,’ Moore said in a barely audible, hoarse voice. ‘Like he’s just gone.’

In a separate interview with WYMT, Elden Howard speculated that someone may have taken his son, given that so far all their search efforts have come to naught.

‘I would just like to see him come home safe,’ the father said. ‘I can’t rest, can’t eat.’


Search and rescue crews were using bloodhounds, horses, ATVs, helicopters and special drones to search rugged terrain

A bloodhound is seen trying to pick up a scent as part of the expand search for Kenneth Howard on Wednesday
A bloodhound is seen trying to pick up a scent as part of the expand search for Kenneth Howard on Wednesday

Howard described his young son as a curious toddler full of energy. He was offering a $5,000 reward for the boy’s safe return.

Vigils were held Tuesday night in eastern Kentucky, with attendees praying for Kenneth and his family.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

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