OSTEEN, Fla. - Two deputies in Volusia County who helped find a missing three-year-old boy over Labor Day weekend are sharing their story with FOX 35 News.
"Hey, Luke. Hey, Luke. What’s up, buddy?" a deputy shouted in the woods, as seen on video from his body camera.
For two hours, deputies and neighbors in Osteen drove and trudged through the woods on a mission to find three-year-old, Luke, who wandered off with his dog.
"That feeling’s kind of scary because it’s like we don’t know where this kid is," said Volusia County Sheriff's Deputy Gaige Bryant.
It happened over Labor Day weekend. Deputies got the call about the missing boy just before the end of their shift, but they stayed on, looking for tracks, calling in choppers and bloodhounds, and knocking on neighbors' doors.
"We’re actually out here looking for a lost child," one deputy told a neighbor while searching that day.
"It’s in a very secluded area. There’s woods. There’s swamps. There’s lakes. There’s ponds everywhere," said Dep. Bryant.
They also called FWC amid concerns the boy may come into contact with snakes or gators in the area.
"As time goes by, you don’t know what happened to the child. If he’s hurt, if he’s injured. He could be sleeping somewhere," said Volusia County Sheriff's Deputy Reuben Marty.
But finally, two hours later, the boy was spotted playing with a hose about a mile from his home.
"It was a relief. We were happy we found him. It was a long day," said Dep. Marty.
"It is such a rewarding feeling, once you have that little kid right in front of you," said Dep. Bryant.
"Luke, where were ya, buddy? Dude, we was looking for you."
"Aw, he was a bundle of joy, man. He thought he was playing a game. He was having a good old time in the woods."
Luckily he got to keep playing with his dog in tow.
"It worked out. It worked out."