THIRD UPDATE: Searcher, dog find missing 5-year-old
PRESCOTT - Officials announced around 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 4, that five-year-old Scott Meyer was found near a bluff about a half mile from his home.
The child was found by Jason Moser of Ellsworth who was out with his family dog, Autumn. The two were by themselves.
"We (he and wife Melissa) have a little four-and-a-half year old and we couldn't imagine losing him," Moser said.
Meyer was found in a bluff behind Phillips Plastics which was described as wooded, steep hills and ravines. Phillips Plastics overlooks the Mississippi River.
"He was dirty, tired and the first thing he grabbed was my water bottle," Moser said. "He was whimpering and crying when I found him, and I think I cried more than he did."
Moser was part of the search crew last night and arrived between 5-5:30 a.m. Meyer was found around 8 a.m.
Meyer was reunited with his parents and transferred by ambulance to Gillette Children's Hospital for evaluation. He is reportedly in good condition with some mosquito bites. No condition was given.
Investigator Doug Ducklow from the Pierce County Sheriff's Department wanted to express its sincere appreciation to all of the family, volunteers, fire, ambulance, police agencies and individuals that assisted in the recovery effort.
Law enforcement, fire, ambulance personnel and citizen volunteers continued their search into Tuesday evening for a five-year-old boy who wandered away, shirtless, from his rural home, about nine miles southeast of Prescott, shortly before noon Tuesday.
The boy, named Scott Meyer, was described as an autistic who is able to hear but not speak. His family reported him missing at 11:53 a.m. Tuesday. Within minutes, Pierce County deputies were in the area with a canine but the initial hunt turned up nothing.
The search area radiated from the boy's home address of N4842 1165th St. in the town of Oak Grove. The neighborhood lies between Hwy. 35 and the Mississippi River.
The sheriff's department further described Scott as three feet tall with short, blond hair in a "buzz" cut and blue eyes, and wearing bright green shorts.
The search unfolded around the home of his parents, Richard and Barbara Meyer. A reporter on-scene described the area as rolling hills, with tall grass, cropland and patches of woods.
As available personnel increased, searchers formed small teams, and systematically combed areas on a mapped grid to be sure all areas were covered.
A Minnesota State Patrol helicopter was overhead and search leaders were coordinated volunteers from Pierce County's mobile command post.
Tuesday evening, the helicopter was replaced by a WDNR fixed-wing Cessna 172 airplane from Eau Claire.
Mid-afternoon, a second-hand report was received that someone thought they had heard a child crying near the nearby Phillips Plastics research facility on 1165th Street. The search was subsequently expanded to an area along the Burlington-Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks and Mississippi River but nothing was found.
Around 7:15 p.m., hopes were raised again when a report came in that the boy had been found near a red barn somewhere within the search area. Ten minutes later, an officer came on the air and told searchers -- "This appears to have been a false rumor; we're still looking."
Firefighters used ATV's. A team of bloodhound tracking dogs from the Dunn County Sheriff's Department was also summoned. A group from Prescott High School heard about the search and arrived to help.
Two searchers were suffered heat exhaustion and need to be taken from the scene by ambulance. Additional volunteer EMS personnel from Spring Valley and Elmwood brought ambulances to the area to cover for other volunteers who'd been at the scene for six hours.
Shortly before 7 p.m., volunteers from the Shafer-Franconia Fire Department near Taylors Falls, Minn., told Pierce County dispatchers they were on their way to help.
As of late afternoon, agencies involved with the search included Ellsworth Fire and Ambulance, Prescott Fire and Ambulance, Red Wing-, River Falls-, Hudson- and Roberts-Warren fire departments, the Wisconsin- and Minnesota State Patrol, Goodhue County Water Patrol and Mounted Posse, Wisconsin DNR and Minnesota Search and Rescue.
As the hot afternoon wore on, additional help was requested from the Hastings Fire Department.
"I just want my baby home," Barbara told a media contingent after the false alarm. "We are still holding out hope. We feel he is close. He's probably scared and we will keep praying for him."
Barbara wanted to thank all the volunteers for their help in the search, which was estimated to be between 300-500 people by 7 p.m.
Anyone with information about the child is urged to call the Pierce County Sheriff's Office at 715-273-5051.