Every kind of fear has a different quality to it. Just think about the way it feels when the roller coaster you’re on ticks to the top of its first drop and you find yourself suspended right before the plunge.
I imagine that’s how the family of 22-month-old Kenneth Howard from Salyersville, Kentucky, felt when he vanished on May 12. Kenneth was playing outside around 7:30 p.m., according to WYMT-TV.
As the sun began to set, his family began to call his name. They called for a full hour, looking all over for the little tot, Inside Edition reported.
Just think of the terror that slowly swelled within them as they realized the child was well and truly lost. Eventually, they called the police.
“I knew this was very serious,” neighbor Tip Conley told WKYT-TV. “He was a very loving little boy, but he was really active.”
Rescuers from multiple counties soon assembled. They spent 23 hours searching for little Kenneth without any luck, bringing in dogs, thermal-camera-equipped drones, helicopters and ATVs.
The terrain proved remarkably rough. Meanwhile, Kenneth’s father, Elden Howard, offered a $5,000 reward to anyone who could find his son.
Pastors across the community rallied together for a prayer vigil at a local park. According to WKYT, one participant exclaimed, “If there’s one miracle from God left out there, just please let it be for him.”
Little did that individual know that a miracle truly was in store. CBS News reported that rescue crews heard someone crying near the Howard home.
Down a 50-foot slope that once served as part of an old strip mine and only 1,755 feet from his home lay Kenneth. Though cold, dehydrated and exhausted, he was otherwise alright despite having vanished for three days.
“Over terrain, I would not, in fact I can’t, even as a young man, I don’t think I’d even attempt it,” one official said. “That child is a true Kentucky mountain boy.”
“The Magoffin County Sheriff’s Office is happy to confirm the reports that Kenneth Howard has been FOUND!!!” Magoffin County Sheriff’s Office wrote on its Facebook page.
“According to Captain Carter Conley of the Magoffin County Rescue Squad, he is alive, he is being attended by medics for dehydration, but is in remarkably good condition.
“Thanks to all who prayed, searched and helped in any way!! This is the best news ever!!!”
Elden Howard agreed. He said that he felt “disbelief, for a while, ‘til they told me they were sure it was him and stuff, and I’d seen a picture.”
“I said, ‘That’s my boy.’ Tickled me to death. Best thing that ever happened to me in my life.”
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