Sadly, in the United States, missing people are a serious phenomenon. According to the FBI National Crime Information Centre, there are over 88,000 active missing person cases across the nation. Of this incredible number, more than 32,000 of missing people are children under the age of 18.
When it comes to the media, missing children are often a hot topic. As some of the most vulnerable of our society, we immediately feel shock and horror when we hear that a small child has disappeared. For the child’s parents, however, the grief is much worse.
Kaydon Leach’s parents were feeling this horror when they discovered he was missing.
The adorable six-year-old disappeared from his Top of The World community in Blount, Tennessee, on April 23rd, 2018. The circumstances surrounding his disappearance are unclear, but his parents were terrified and immediately alerted the police.
The initial missing person reports describe Kaydon as wearing a black T-shirt, grey sweatpants, and slip-on shoes. Media reports also noted the boy’s black-and-white terrier may (or may not) be with him.
Because Kaydon is only 6-years-old, there were obvious concerns for his safety.
At 7 PM, local authorities began an investigation and were joined by major law enforcement agencies, including the Tennesse Bureau of Investigation, K-9 teams, Blount County Sherriff’s Office Swat Team, a military helicopter, and volunteer search recruits. They issued an Endangered Child Alert to inform the public what was going on.
The search party was composed of more than 100 people who spent hours searching through the 2,000-acre mountainous terrain.
Twenty-two hours later, with some miraculous stroke of luck, authorities managed to locate Kaydon. But in a surprising twist, it was someone else who was named the hero.
When search parties located Kaydon, he was lying on the ground with his terrier Chula by his side. When authorities approached the boy, it was clear the dog had been protecting his owner this entire time.
“The dog actually growled at rescuers when they approached Kaydon,” Jeff French, Chief Deputy with the Blount County’s Sherriff Office, told WBIR.
Considering Kaydon is only 6-years-old and had been wandering alone for nearly 24 hours, everyone was ecstatic when he was found safe.
When he was found, Kaydon was very cold from being outside so long. He was wrapped in jackets and taken to the Blount Memorial Hospital for examination.
“The 6-year-old was discharged from Blount Memorial hospital yesterday and is doing well.”
“[His parents] say the child and the dog, Chula, cuddled and kept each other warm throughout the night when they were lost in the woods.”‘
In a statement, Kaydon’s family expressed their gratitude, thanking everyone involved in the search.
“We’re so thankful to everyone, from local law enforcement agenies to volunteers, who helped us find Kaydon.”
“The amount of support we have recieved has been tremendous, even from people we don’t even know.”
UPDATE: Great News! Kaydon Leach has been located and is safe. Thank you for helping us get the word out! pic.twitter.com/VQER0ghdhH
— TBI (@TBInvestigation) April 24, 2018
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