Team effort locates missing boy in Sumner

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Child wandered 3 miles

By The Staff

A missing 5-year-old boy who wandered three miles from home into a swamp was located after four hours of searching by his family, volunteers, and officers from a number of law enforcement, conservation and corrections.

The Levy County Sheriff's Office was contacted shortly after 11 a.m. by a frantic mother in the Sumner area because she could not locate her son. The mother and family had been searching for almost an hour before calling for help. The boy was last seen in the front yard of the home playing with the family dog by the grandmother. The young boy was last seen wearing blue jeans, no shirt and no shoes.

The Sheriff’s Office, Levy County Department of Public Safety, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers, Florida Highway Patrol troopers, Marion County Sheriff’s Office Air Unit and the Florida Department of Corrections K-9 teams searched the area of Shiloh Cemetery for over three hours before he was located.

The boy was ultimately located in a large marshy pond by community volunteers approximately 3 miles from his home. Resident John Hanley located a small barefoot print in a muddy area near a road at the edge of the swampy pond.

Law enforcement resources were being moved into the area when a second resident volunteer, Evan Phillips, located the young child. Phillips heard the boy's yells for help and entered the swamp to rescue him.

The child was found in the middle of a thick stand of cattails in the center of the shallow pond unharmed. He was treated for small scratches and reunited with his mother.

A sheriff's press release expressed the department's great appreciation for assistance received from the citizens and other agencies.