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Happy ending

COFIELD – For the second time in exactly one week, a local child that wandered off from outside their home was found within a few hours.

The latest incident occurred near here Sunday on Archer Town Road. There, a six-year-old male was reported as missing by his parents.

Hertford County Sheriff Dexter Hayes said his office was contacted by the child’s parents shortly before 9 p.m.

“We immediately responded to find that the child had been missing for over an hour,” said Hayes. “The parents said their child was outside and told them that he was going inside the house. Later, the parents couldn’t locate the child in the house and immediately called the Sheriff’s Office.”

Hayes added that the child’s father shared information regarding the boy’s past history about playing in a wooded area adjacent to the residence.

“The child was accustomed to playing there, and had built some homemade forts,” Hayes said. “This time, however, the child apparently got his directions mixed up and instead of walking back towards the residence, he wound up walking away from it, deeper into the woods.”

Hayes summoned assistance to aid in the search, to include members of the Down East Drug Task Force, NC Department of Corrections, Hertford County Emergency Management, Ahoskie Police Department, Northampton Sheriff’s Office, the Gates County Search and Rescue Team, and members of the Scotland Neck Fire Department (friends of the family). The US Coast Guard was also notified for possible use of a helicopter to aid in the search.

Meanwhile, friends and neighbors from the Archer Town Road, New Bethany Church Road, and Thomas Bridge Road communities also rallied to help.

“One of those neighbors, Johnny Boyd, along with his dog (“Moose”) found the child around 9:30 p.m. in a wooded area about a mile from the residence,” Hayes stated. “Hertford County EMS was on scene and assessed the child’s medical condition. Other than being a bit cold and frightened by the ordeal, he was okay and was released back to his family.”

Sheriff Hayes applauded the efforts of all those who turned out to help with the search.

“This could have ended badly, but through the grace of God and a lot of help, this story had a happy ending,” Hayes stressed.

The Sheriff encouraged parents and guardians to maintain a close eye on children who are outside playing.

“My advice is to keep a check on them while they’re outside; an adult or responsible teenager needs to monitor young children at all times as kids have the tendency to wander off,” Hayes said.

One week prior (March 4), a three-year-old child went missing for several hours after wandering away from his home in the Corapeake area of Gates County. The child was in the front yard of his residence, playing with the family’s dog, before disappearing.

After a four-hour search – conducted by emergency responders joined by family members and neighbors – the toddler was found safe and sound exiting a wooded area approximately eight-tenths of one mile from his home.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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