It was a parent’s worst nightmare. On Mother’s Day, 1-year-old Kenneth Howard of Kentucky disappeared from his family’s home. While a mass search began and volunteers were looking for him around the clock, thing’s didn’t look hopeful. As the days passed by and there was still no trace of the boy, the situation appeared bleak.
As it often goes in these dire situations, the longer a child is missing, the less likely it is that they will be found alive. However, this particular story luckily ended on a positive note. On Wednesday, Kenneth was found alive. He was located on a 50-foot rock ledge not far from his home in Magoffin County, according to NBC News.
Miraculously, the toddler managed to survive alone and in the elements for nearly three days. He had no food or water. When rescuers got to him, they said that he repeated the heartbreaking words, “here all night” over and over again.
Aside from being dehydrated, the little boy was otherwise in good condition. His lack of injuries was shocking to rescuers, given the harrowing circumstances he’d been through. Kenneth was airlifted to Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia, to be examined by doctors.
For his parents, Wednesday will be a day they will never forget. They are very aware that things could have quite easily turned out differently and are just grateful to have their little boy back again. The boy’s father, Eden Howard, described the crushing weight that was placed on him when his son first went missing. Kenneth being found alive was like a dream come true for him.
“It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my life. This was like somebody dropping a big boulder on you when he left. Now it’s like somebody picked it up off of you.”
Eden had prepared himself for the worst, knowing that his son might not be alive when and if he was recovered by rescue teams. When he first heard the good news, he could hardly believe it. It wasn’t until he was shown a picture of Kenneth alive that he realized it was true.
“I said, ‘That’s my boy.’ Tickled me to death,” he told reporters.
Details regarding just how exactly the toddler was able to get out of his family’s home and wander so far off is still yet to be determined. Police are continuing to investigate the situation, but believe Kenneth escaped out the back door of the home while his father was in the front room.