UPDATE 5:31 p.m. (6/15/22): Following a 10-hour search effort, the Southside Virginia community can rest easily now that a young boy is safe with his family after he wandered away from his Danville home Tuesday night.
The Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office says 4-year-old Wyatt was playing in the sprinkler near the back porch of his house along Cedar Trail on Tuesday, June 14. Then, around 8 p.m., his mother noticed he had wandered off — without any clothes on — and his family started looking for him.
A short time later, Wyatt’s family called 911 about the boy’s disappearance. Right away, the sheriff’s office says everyone got to work trying to track Wyatt down, bringing in K9 units, search parties, drones, and even air units.
Authorities also conducted a reverse 911 call to about 400 homes in the area, asking the community to keep an eye out for Wyatt.
For more than 10 hours, the Johnson family joined Mount Cross residents to wait on news about Wyatt.
Some volunteers found the 4-year-old in a wooded area less than a mile from his home on Wednesday, June 15. This was a different area than where search parties spent the overnight and early morning hours searching.
WFXR News’ Hazelmarie Anderson saw Wyatt after first responders tracked him down Wednesday morning and says he was excited to go back to playing in the sprinkler.
According to Wyatt’s mother, Stephanie Johnson, it was a blessing that everyone was willing to go out and look for him
When asked about the boy’s temperament when he was found, Johnson told WFXR News that Wyatt was scared, but other than being covered in some ticks and scratches, he was okay. In fact, all he wanted was some chicken nuggets and French fries.
“It was very overwhelming having him disappear like that,” Johnson said. “We’re just, like, so happy to have him home.”
When crews found Wyatt, they say he was hanging out with a family dog, ‘Whiskey,’ and a neighbor’s dog, ‘Hershey,’ who actually stayed with the boy all night to make sure he was okay.
“Evidently he went through the pipeline and the dog went with him. Thankfully the dog stayed with him because we do have coyotes coming through and I was pretty worried,” Hershey’s owner, Marlon Compton, told WFXR News. “…Hersey, he likes all the children and if they’re running up and down the driveway or running through the woods, he’s with them. He’s gonna run with whoever.”
The Johnson family is thankful for all of the help from the Southside Virginia community to track down Wyatt.
However, Wyatt’s family still needs the community’s help because the other dog that stayed with him overnight, Whiskey, went missing after first responders found the boy. If you live in the area around Wyatt’s neighborhood, keep an eye out for a short bully mix with white and brown fur because that could be Whiskey.
UPDATE 6:43 a.m. (6/15/22): After Pittsylvania County authorities and first responders spent the night searching for a 4-year-old boy who left his home in Danville, crews told WFXR News they found Wyatt safe and sound.
According to the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, Wyatt is shaken up, but he is alright and ready to reunite with his family.
Officials say Wyatt was discovered with a neighbor’s dog about three-quarters of a mile away from his home, which is a different area than the quadrants searched by crews overnight.
PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Law enforcement officers and first responders from across Pittsylvania County — as well as other parts of Virginia — are working together to track down a missing 4-year-old boy who wandered away from his Danville home Tuesday night.
According to the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, the missing boy, Wyatt, has blonde hair and blue eyes.
Officials say a 911 call came in around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14 saying that Wyatt walked away from his home along Cedar Trail in Danville, but he was not wearing any clothes at the time.
The sheriff’s office says the family had been enjoying a normal summer evening and hanging out in their house while the little boy was on the back porch around 7:45 p.m. Then, around 8 p.m., Wyatt’s mother came outside and noticed he was gone.
Authorities tell WFXR News that Wyatt’s family had looked for the boy for some time, but could not find him, so deputies responded and called in aerial support from Virginia State Police. While weather conditions forced the aerial support to turn back, infrared drones and K9 units have still been searching the area most of the night.
Members of Pittsylvania County Emergency Management, Pittsylvania County Public Safety, the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia State Police, Blue and Gray Search and Rescue Dogs, Commonwealth Search and Rescue, Black Diamond Search and Rescue, the Blacksburg Rescue Squad, Virginia Search and Rescue Dog Association, Angel Search and Rescue, Christian Aid Ministries Search and Rescue, Mount Cross Fire and Rescue, Tunstall Fire and Rescue, and Danville Life Saving Crew have already gathered to search for the boy.
Officials believe this is not the first time Wyatt has wandered off before, but he has always returned home.
“This time, we don’t know whether he just got turned around, but we are asking the community, and we did a reverse 911 last night,” Pittsylvania County Sheriff Michael Taylor said during a 5:30 a.m. briefing on Wednesday, June 15. “We reached about 400 homes in the vicinity and gave them a description of the child and asked if anyone had any information to please don’t assume that we have that. Please call us and let us know so we can investigate, come to a conclusion on it.”
Taylor says authorities have been in touch with Wyatt’s family throughout the night, sharing any available information about the search effort.
Meanwhile, fresh volunteers and K9 teams are reportedly coming in Wednesday morning to help with the operation, which Taylor hopes will be resolved before it gets too hot.
If you see Wyatt, you are asked to call the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office immediately by dialing 434-432-7931.
For anyone who wants to help with the search for Wyatt, the sheriff urges you to check your property for the little boy, as well as pray for his family and the people looking for him.
However, if you prefer to provide in-person assistance, crews will welcome any extra sets of eyes in the field — especially if you have search and rescue experience — but you need to call the sheriff’s office ahead of time for the sake of organization.