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Police find missing 9-year-old boy after he fell asleep in the snow in Dover Township

Tuscarawas County file image
Posted at 3:55 PM, Feb 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-13 15:55:25-05

A 9-year-old boy was found asleep in the snow nearly eight hours after he was reported missing from his home in Tuscarawas County last week.

At around 7 p.m. on Feb. 9, the 4th grader was reported missing from his Dover Township home. The town is about 25 miles southwest of Canton.

According to authorities, the boy had an argument with his mother earlier in the day and left his house after she laid down for a nap that evening.

When police arrived, they followed the boy's footprints to a nearby road but soon lost the trail. 

Deputies from the Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Dover Fire Department searched the area for hours but were initially unable to locate the child. Police K-9s were brought in but those proved unsuccessful.

A Highway Patrol helicopter equipped with thermal imaging was brought in to search for the boy. Around 3 a.m. — nearly eight hours after the boy was reported missing — the helicopter located a heat signature.

Rescuers found the boy asleep in the snow on a hillside. Police said the spot was through some nearby woods several hundred feet from the child's home. The boy soaking wet and extremely cold when authorities found him.

Tuscarawas County Sheriff Orvis L. Campbell said, that without the helicopter, the child may not have survived the night.

"It is likely that since he was cold and fell asleep, he may not have ever awakened," Campbell said. 
"Eight hours was a very long time for a little 9-year-old boy to be out in the cold dark wooded areas."

The boy was transported to a nearby hospital for evaluation.

The Tuscarawas County Department of Job and Family Services was notified of the incident, police said.