Last week, a group of first responders spent the night north of Mitchell searching for a missing child.
The 9-year-old boy, who authorities said is autistic, went missing Wednesday evening but was found by a Davison County Sheriff's deputy around 9 a.m. Thursday. The child was "beat up a little bit from spending the night in the weeds and the bushes" but was ultimately OK.
What a relief it is to hear the search was successful. Multiple agencies assisted in the late hours of the night and into the morning. They were the Davison County Sheriff's Office, Sanborn County and Jerauld County sheriff's offices, Davison County Search and Rescue, Mitchell Department of Public Safety and the Letcher Volunteer Fire Department.
In South Dakota, where we have thousands of miles of open fields and cropland, going into a search for a missing child can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Luckily, authorities had some information and a good starting point to find the missing boy.
Due to the late-night work of volunteers and other first responders, the child was found about 3½ miles from where authorities pinpointed a probable location. When a rare situation like this arises, it takes a village to find a child. The more help, the better.
It was great to hear that multiple agencies - especially including volunteers like in this case the Letcher Volunteer Fire Department - are working together when an emergency of this magnitude arises.
While it's never fun planning for a missing child, it is necessary. It was only a few months ago the Hanson County Sheriff's Office led the search for a 3-year-old boy who went missing from his home. He was also found, and it was partially because 50 to 60 people were involved in the search.
These types of searches are not regular, but we hope law enforcement agencies of all shapes and sizes have a detailed plan in place for when it does. In last week's case, a text alert was sent out at about 6:30 a.m. for morning travelers to keep an eye out for the missing boy. Volunteers were called early in the search.
Those are the types of plans and communications that need to be planned before a child goes missing.
We applaud everyone involved for the work last week in the search, and we hope other agencies take notice of the successful ending.