On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, OPP officer Jean-Francois Meloche became a hero for his part in helping locate a toddler lost in the woods.
On July 20, provincial constable Jean-Francois Meloche of the Hawkesbury ERT Team was presented with a Deputy Commissioners Citation.
Jude Leyton, four years old at the time, had gone missing from a South Frontenac Township property owned by his family.
The search spanned a wide stretch of forest and involved 100 police officers, volunteers, helicopters, canines and more.
As the search stretched into days, police began to wind down the search.
Just an hour after the reduction was announced, Jude was found safe at a pond approximately 980 metres from where he was last seen.
Fast forward over a year and Const. Meloche was recognized for his efforts in the search.
A press release from the OPP on Wednesday read:
“Inspector Chis McGillis of the Hawkesbury Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) formally recognized Provincial Constable Jean Francois MELOCHE, member of the Hawkesbury ERT team, for receiving a Deputy Commissioners Citation for being part of the search and rescue efforts made in finding Jude Leyton, 4 years old at the time, in March 2021 in the South Frontenac area.”