Two parents are fortunate to have their toddler back today after leaving the two-year-old boy at Lake Nokomis for an hour last night.
The parents called the Orono Police Department and reported the boy missing just before 7:30 p.m. Sunday. At first, the parents simply reported their son was missing.
Four police departments, including a Hennepin County Sheriff bloodhound unit, and the Mound Fire Department snapped into action and searched for the missing child. After a short time searching, the mother and father figured out they'd probably left their son at Lake Nokomis, where they'd been visiting a friend at Spring Park.
Around the same time, a call came in to report that a young boy had been found. Orono Police Chief Correy Farniok says the boy had been wandering around alone for "a while," perhaps up to an hour. The toddler was fine, Farniok says, and the couple was lucky.
In total, about 20 people might have been searching for the boy, including his parents. Police and firefighters will always respond that quickly, Farniok said, but he wishes people could be more careful.
Six weeks ago, a different Orono mother's confusion over her missing daughter led to an Amber Alert and a 70-person search team that combed the woods for five hours looking for the missing girl. Eventually, eight-year-old Jordan Arends was discovered with an acquaintance of the family; her mother had apparently forgotten she'd made arrangements for someone else to pick Jordan up from Bible School.
"We'll respond with all resources we have," Farniok said. "We're not happy that there are mistakes, but we're happy that the child is found safely and reunited."
In last night's missing child incident, the case will be referred to Child Protective Services for further review, according to Sgt. William Palmer of the Minneapolis Police Department.