Monday, August 31, 2009

Kids lost in corn field

One of our reporters did this story today. If you missed it, you might want to take a look. It really freaked me out because our house backs up to a farm field and we haven't even installed a fence yet. I can just imagine how this mom must have been panicking.

Two Livingston County children are safe tonight after getting lost in a massive cornfield over the weekend.
News 25's Eric Shangraw has more on the heroic search efforts by volunteers, police and a canine unit to find the missing kids.

It was around 6 o'clock Saturday night when Tracie Pitchford and her two children were playing in the yard of her rural Livingston County home. Tracie was momentarily distracted when 4–year old Kieran and 2–year old Kendall followed a family dog into an adjacent corn field and disappeared.

"By the time I reached the corn I couldn't see her anymore. And it was pretty scary. When I got in the corn I could hear her. Actually I heard him. And I couldn't see him. I couldn't tell which direction their voices where coming from. Panic set in," said Pitchford.

Tracie called her parents and police who raced to the scene. Neighboring farmers and other volunteers showed to start a search in a race against the oncoming darkness. The first few minutes were unsuccessful.

This cornfield is like a maze. The fields run north–south and east–west. Anyone who comes in here would quickly get disoriented.

"You can't see once you get in there unless you squat down. I squatted down to try and see the kids in any direction. And then you're calling for them saying Kieran and Kendall, it is mama and papa. Can you hear me? And then you just don't hear anything. It is just a sense of panic," said their grandmother Diana Folk.

Pontiac Police Officer Casey Kohlmeier and his canine partner, Draco, where called in to help and track the lost children. But at first they had no luck. Then a farmer on an ATV found the Kieran near a waterway some 300 yards from where they were last seen. But the brother and sister had split up. The canine officer then picked up a scent.

"I went to the far side of the field and attempted to reverse the track, to go backwards from where that child was located. And Draco successfully hit the track," said Kohlmeier.

The Belgian Malinois lead the search team to the area where the two-year old girl was wondering. She was scratched by the corn and dirty, but otherwise safe.

"He pulls me pretty hard. That's another way that I can tell he's on it. He gets very intense," said Kohlmeier.

"I'm just very thankful for that dog and officer," said Pitchford.

"It was a good collaborative effort between the farmers, fire department, and the police agencies. It was very rewarding," said Kohlmeier.

And Draco's reward for finding a missing child? A chance to play with his favorite toy. -Just another day at the office, on four legs.
-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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