Several Watauga County emergency personnel responded to a call for a missing four-year-old boy in Vilas on Saturday morning.
According to Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman, the 911 call was placed around 9:40 a.m. on Saturday.
Sheriff Hagaman said members of the sheriff’s office, the Beaver Dam Fire Department, Beaver Dam First Responders, Watauga County Emergency Management, the Zionville Fire Department, Watauga County Rescue Squad, the NC State Highway Patrol, and local private K-9 search and rescue teams all responded to the area to look for the boy.
Hagaman said the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office Mobile Command Trailer, the six-wheel-drive all-terrain vehicle, and a NC State Highway Patrol helicopter were also called to the scene.
The boy was missing from a rental residence on Tannenbaum Lane in Vilas. He was with his family, and was visiting the area from Waxaw, North Carolina. Hagaman said the boy was out playing and had wandered off. The Sheriff explained there are several ATV trails, a Christmas tree farm, and heavy woods in the area, so it wouldn't take long for the boy to get out of sight.
Hagaman said about four and a half hours into the search a search team from the Beaver Dam Fire Department found the boy.
Sheriff Hagaman said the four-year-old was found to be slightly dehydrated, but otherwise in good health.
After the search, the boy’s father, Samuel Michael Walford, said, “We are grateful for all who showed up to help find our son.”
*Photos courtesy of the Watauga County Sheriff's Office