TECUMSEH, Mo. (AP) — A 2-year-old boy who followed his dog into the woods near his Missouri Ozarks home is safe, after one of the nearly 100 people searching for him heard a faint whimper and found the child just before the sunset.
KYTV-TV reports that Waylon Loftis was supposed to be napping Friday afternoon at his family’s home in Tecumseh, near Norfolk Lake. Instead, he made his way out of the house despite safety devices on the doors, Ozark County Sheriff Cass Martin said.
Among the scores of volunteers who joined in the search was Jonathan Belt, a veteran and now a paramedic, who headed to a wooded area. Hours after Waylon disappeared, with sunset fast approaching, Belt heard a noise.
“The wind calmed just a little bit, and I heard like a whimper, or definitely in my mind it registered automatically as a kid,” Belt told the TV station.
Waylon’s mother, Marinda Loftis, was grateful to Belt and all of the volunteers.
“He’s a hero, everyone who showed up was a hero,” she said.