Missing toddler found 'alive and well' in the woods after three-day search near Westport
The family of a toddler missing for three days in a wooded area north of Kingston is hailing it as a "miracle" that he was found safe.
Ontario Provincial Police said three-year-old Jude Leyton was found "alive and well" Wednesday afternoon by a member of the OPP Emergency Response Team searching the woods in South Frontenac.
In a media release Wednesday evening, police said the toddler was found sleeping near a beaver pond, about one kilometre from where he was last seen Sunday morning.
"Child appears in good health and was dressed for the weather," said the OPP.
"Responsive, alert, receptive to water, responded well," said Const. Curtis Dick of Frontenac OPP. "So it was just a great, great scenario."
Dick says the search team spotted Leyton's distinctive blue jacket in the woods.
"He was dressed for the weather. He had a winter jacket on, he had a heavy wool sweater and he had his boots still on, so all those aspects of clothing really played into the positive outcome for sure."
In a statement to CTV News late Wednesday night, Leyton's grandfather Chris Fisher called the past few days a traumatic experience for the entire family, but said the family is "so happy to have our little Jude back."
"It was a miracle that he was found alive," he said. "He must have a very strong will to live to surive that horrendous rainy weather and cold on Sunday and Monday nights all alone in a very wild and treacherous area."
#GOODNEWS!!! A missing 3 yr old boy in S Frontenac has been found ALIVE AND WELL. Found by #OPP Emergency Response Team member moments ago. In good condition but will be checked out by paramedics. #YGK ^bd @OPP_COMM_ER pic.twitter.com/8k5uZwW4MF— OPP East Region (@OPP_ER) March 31, 2021
OPP spokesperson Bill Dickson tells CTV News Ottawa the boy was checked out by paramedics on the scene.
"Just after 3:30, we were notified that one of our emergency response team members, who was one of many people on the ground searching and looking around, found him," said Dickson in an interview with CTV News Ottawa.
"When I was told that this young man had been found I thought the worst, and was then told, 'no, he's alive and well.'"
Leyton went missing Sunday at his family's fishing resort on Canoe Lake Road near Westport, Ont.
Frontenac Paramedics tweeted out a video of an ambulance carrying Leyton arriving at Kingston General Hospital just before 5:30 p.m.
Ontario Provincial Police, including helicopter, marine units and volunteer search and rescue teams had spent several days looking for the child.
In his statement, Fisher issued thanks to the OPP, public for all their interest, support and prayers, as well as the efforts of volunteers, search and rescue teams, South Frontenac Township officials, fire department and paramedics, and others.
Const. Dick told reporters on Tuesday the search had been scaled back to conserve resources. The teams went from 50 volunteers to about 20 on the ground searching, rotating teams.
"This is so amazing to have an ending to this story the way it is," said Dickson.