OPP say a three-year-old boy lost in the woods north of Kingston, Ont., for more than three days has been found “alive and well.”
Police announced that three-year-old Jude Leyton, who went missing in South Frontenac, Ont., off of Canoe Lake Road, was recovered Wednesday afternoon.
OPP had been searching for the boy since Sunday around noon. Police said some of their emergency response team officers found the boy around 3:20 p.m. sleeping near what OPP called “beaver pond.”
“Four of our ERT members, part of the search and rescue (team), they were on another tasking to check another area. While they’re on that tasking, they found Jude. It was a great finale to some very, very difficult days,” said Const. Curtis Dick with Frontenac County OPP.
Jude was found just under a kilometer away from the place he was last seen, Dick said.
“There’s a body of water that’s attached to the property. So it was across that body of water. So a significant distance for sure,” Dick said.
The recovery came just about an hour after police said they were reducing the number of officers dedicated to the ground search.
Police believe the toddler wandered away from Bing Retreat Sunday, a property the Leyton family owns. Search and rescue teams have been scouring the woods and water nearby ever since.
OPP say Jude is in good condition but is being checked on by paramedics.
“He took some water, responded well to that, and they were able to bring him out to paramedics,” Dick said.
Frontenac Paramedics took the toddler to Kingston General Hospital Wednesday evening by ambulance.
Dick said they’re still trying to figure out how Jude evaded the extensive search efforts, which included 100 officers and search and rescue volunteers on the ground, canine units, helicopters and water search and rescue teams, but its possible he was on the move.
As for how the young child was able to survive in the wilderness through often rainy, cold and blustery weather for more than 72 hours, OPP say they’re still unsure.
“What we can say for sure is that he was dressed for the weather. He had a winter jacket with a heavy wool sweater. His boots were still on. So given all those those bonuses, he thrived actually, he did very well,” Dick said.