3-year-old wanders into Pike Township woods, found safe and returned home

PIKE TOWNSHIP, Ohio - It's something no parent wants to experience - their toddler wanders off into the woods, sparking a police search. Luckily, the Pike Township 3-year-old was found safe, after he went missing Saturday.

An all-out community search by police and neighbors brought the child home. His mother is now hoping this will serve as a lesson for all. 

When NewsChannel5 asked 3-year-old Braylen Tomblin what happened, he said, "I came from there and the horse [was] full of poop … and I said, 'That's disgusting!"

It was the toddler's account of an adventure he went on, a not-so-fun adventure for his mother who reported the toddler missing to police when she could've find him in their backyard.

"All I could think about was getting him back and just hoping for the best," said Sarah Tomblin.

Tomblin said the 3-year-old disappeared in Pike Township, Stark County Saturday at around 1:30 p.m.  He reportedly followed their dog into about two acres of wooded land behind their backyard. 

"I went to see a horse," said little Braylen as he showed us the path he took.

The dangers the toddler faced were serious said Ohio State Highway Patrol Sergeant Jon DeWitt.

"There's woods, there's water, fields," said the Sergeant, "very few houses and obviously with the temperatures involved someone, a child that is very young can't sustain themselves in that type of environment." 

The Ohio State Highway Patrol was one of several to respond as neighbors searched by foot and by car.  Finally, a High Patrol pilot spotted Braylen by air about one mile away from his home.  

Grateful, Tomblin said, "Everybody just put on a huge effort to find him I mean it was a huge blessing."

Braylen himself seemed to know something had happened and told NewsChannel5 he was rescued by the "mighty machines" and police officers.

"As a community it shows we all can get together for one cause," said DeWitt.

Tomblin said it's a terrible lesson of what can happen at the blink of an eye.  She also said she never thought this could happen to her.

"The feeling of knowing that you have no idea where your three year old little boy is, is a feeling I never want to feel again," said Tomblin. 

Highway Patrol officers found Braylen in a field near Sherman Church Avenue S.W. in healthy condition.

Officers say the pilot directed ground crews to Braylen's condition and returned him to his family. 

Sgt. DeWitt said there is an open investigation on the matter, but he's still pleased to hear everything turned-out for the best.

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