Lifestyle & Human Interest

'Dramatic' Rescue Video: State Trooper Finds Lost 4-Year-Old in Woods with Loyal Dog at His Side


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

A New Jersey family was on high alert on March 29 after their 4-year-old boy went missing. Thankfully, the boy had wandered off with the family’s very good boy, something that made all the difference.

Parker, the 4-year-old, had found his way into the thick woods behind the family’s home in Buena Vista Township with Toby, the family dog, and had been missing for about an hour when his family called for help.

“Female on the line who hears what she thinks is a kid crying,” the dispatcher said, according to a recording obtained by Inside Edition. “She’s in the middle of the woods. You have to get there on foot.”

State Trooper Ian Emmi showed up to help with the search, and was able to assist in and witness the heartwarming reunion.

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“It was starting to get dark, and it was getting cold out, and I knew if … this would’ve went into the night, our outcome probably wouldn’t have been good,” Emmi said.

New Jersey State Police shared his bodycam footage the next day on their Facebook page.

“Last night, troopers from Buena Vista Station responded to the report of a missing child in Buena Vista [Township], Atlantic County,” the post read.

“A 4-year-old boy and his black Labrador had wandered away from his house and were missing for more than an hour. While searching for the child, Trooper Ian Emmi and the child’s mother heard him off in the distance and ran to his location nearly a half mile from his house.

“We are thankful to report that due to the quick response of the troopers and his mother, the terrified child was safely located and in good health.

“Check out the video of the dramatic rescue.”

Thanks to loyal Labrador Toby, Parker was not alone. When the two were found, Toby did not run ahead to greet the rescuers but stayed close to his boy, wagging furiously and following him closely as they left the area.

The boy’s mother, Victoria, was elated to have her son back in her arms.

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“I was basically breathless,” she said. “And just thanking God in my heart that he was OK.”

But the little boy was focused on something else entirely, distraught over the loss of one of his shoes. The first thing he said through tears after being found and picked up was, “I lost my shoe!”

When asked what happened, he said, simply, “I was walking in the woods.”

The family is grateful to be whole again, and Parker’s sadness has been addressed with a brand-new pair of bright blue Nikes.

“He loves his shoes,” Victoria said. “He picks out his shoes. He, he … he certainly has a thing about his shoes.”

As for Toby, he’s made it very clear that he’s not going anywhere — in more ways than one.

“He can do whatever he wants now,” Victoria said, laughing, “because he’s pretty much solidified his place in the family.”

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