&& After Missing For 22 Hours, This Boy Was Found But He’s Not Alone

 When Kaydon’s parents realized that their son had gone missing on an April evening in 2018, it was incredibly warm outside. They initially believed he was engaging in a game of hiding and seek, but quickly realized that was not the case. They locate him after nearly 22 hours of searching but are stopped in their tracks when they discover he is not alone.

After Missing for 22 Hours, This Boy Was Found But He's Not Alone

After Missing for 22 Hours, This Boy Was Found But He’s Not Alone

Extremely Concerned

In Blount County, Tennessee, the family lived in a small community known as Top of the World. Kaydon’s parents didn’t mind if he played by himself as long as he didn’t go too far without informing them. Kaydon was still missing on April 23, 2018, despite the fact that darkness had fallen.

Extremely Concerned

Extremely Concerned

He Didn’t Come Home

Naturally, his parents were concerned about his whereabouts. After all, he usually returned home by 6 p.m. While they were aware that he had been playing outside, as usual, they became concerned when he failed to return home that evening.

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He Didn’t Come Home

A Good Boy

But who exactly is Kaydon Leach? He was a happy and good boy who enjoyed being outside and playing with animals. Chula, his black and white terrier, is his pet. He, like other kids his age, gets into a lot of mischiefs.

A Good Boy

A Good Boy

Not Taking A Risk

His parents initially assumed he was simply hiding somewhere in the house. When they realized their error, they contacted James Lee Berrong, the Blount County Sheriff. They didn’t want to take any chances because it was getting colder and darker outside, and Kaydon was without a coat.

Not Taking A Risk

Not Taking A Risk

A Missing Child

When a child goes missing, it is every parent’s worst nightmare. It’s only natural for them to want to protect their child, so you can imagine how terrifying it must be when something like this happens. Kaydon’s parents aren’t any different.

A Missing Child

A Missing Child

Bad Gut Feeling

They were baffled as to why their son had vanished so quickly. They did, however, want to find him and return him. There was clearly something out of the ordinary going on here. They had a gut feeling that this was the case even though they had no knowledge of it.

Bad Gut Feeling

Bad Gut Feeling

No Time to Lose

The Sheriff of the County was well aware that time was of the essence. He quickly enlisted others’ assistance in spreading the word about Kaydon. A person is usually required to wait at least 24 hours before filing a missing person alert. However, because it was a small community, this was not the case.

No Time to Lose

No Time to Lose

Trying To Be Optimistic

They were truly worried, especially because they thought he had been kidnapped. It’s possible that he was freezing because he was not wearing his coat. The Sheriff had no desire to speculate on the worst-case scenario, so he worked quickly and as much as he could to help the family.

Trying To Be Optimistic

Trying To Be Optimistic

The Missing Boy’s Profile

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued an endangered child alert at 7 p.m. that night. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the alert mentioned Kaydon’s appearance. It pleaded with community members to look for him, noting that he was last seen around 6 p.m.

The Missing Boy’s Profile

The Missing Boy’s Profile

His Description

Kaydon stood 4 feet tall, weighed 27 kg (60 pounds), and had brown hair and blue eyes, according to his parents. Aside from that, they also revealed what he was wearing at the time of his disappearance to the Sheriff. He was dressed in black slacks, gray sweatpants, and a black shirt.

His Description

His Description

The Search

Kaydon stood 4 feet tall, weighed 27 kg (60 pounds), and had brown hair and blue eyes, according to his parents. Aside from that, they also revealed what he was wearing at the time of his disappearance to the Sheriff. He was dressed in black slacks, gray sweatpants, and a black shirt.

The Search

The Search

Searching Everywhere

A search and rescue mission was carried out by the local Sheriff’s department. Meanwhile, a military Blackhawk helicopter from the nearby McGhee Tyson Airbase assisted in the search. After Berrong received the phone call from the Leach family, things got started quickly.

Searching Everywhere

Searching Everywhere

Grid Searches

They launched a ground operation in addition to using the chopper to search for the boy. Almost a hundred first responders made up the search and rescue team, which covered 2,000 acres of mountainous terrain. The question was whether they would be able to locate this young boy before it became too late.

Grid Searches

Grid Searches

The TBI

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), Blount County Fire Department, Blount County Search and Rescue Tea, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Blount County Chief Deputy Jeff French, and Blount County Sheriff’s Department all conducted their own grid searches to look for Kaydon on the ground.

The TBI

The TBI

A Community Comes Together

When word of his disappearance spread, members of the local community stepped up to help. Blount County Emergency Services issued an Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) message to let everyone know what was going on in a matter of hours.

A Community Comes Together

A Community Comes Together

A Caring Community

When members of the local community received the message, they recognized that they, too, needed to act. After all, a child’s life was at stake here. They were probably reminded of their own children and grandchildren. It had to have struck a chord with them all.

Helpful Community

A Caring Community

Rallying Around

Aside from the IPAWS message, the Blount County community was kept informed about what was going on thanks to a smartphone app called Next Door. This program aided in the spread of the word even more. It’s a relatively private social network for residents in a given area.

Rallying Around

Rallying Around

News Coverage

Many people were unable to assist with the search, but they made every effort to assist in any way they could. One of the local volunteers told WVLT News, “We’re a very tight community. We try to help everyone. I got a phone call about what was going on. I was coming up the mountain from work and just shot straight over and did everything I could to help.”

News Coverage

News Coverage

A Helping Hand

According to a former resident of the neighborhood, Megan Kessler heard about the missing girl and created an organization dedicated to supporting the search and rescue operations. She gave the volunteers food and water. She spoke to WVLT News and said, “We knew it was going to be a long night.” She also said, “We brought coffee, chili, whatever they needed. We wanted to make sure we could supply it. They wouldn’t let us search, so we did what we could.”

A Helping Hand

A Helping Hand

A Viral Post

Everybody pitched in to help spread the word about this breaking story. The Tennessee Endangered Child Alert also shared a photo of the youngster on Facebook. They also described Kaydon Leach’s appearance and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance. The post was also posted by WBIR Channel 10.

A Viral Post

A Viral Post

The Power Of Media

The post was shared over 2,000 times and received over 350 reactions after it was updated with more information. Kaydon’s whereabouts were the focus of the entire community’s search. The word got around like wildfire!

The Power Of Media

The Power Of Media

Time Was Running Out

Even though they put in the most effort and the assistance of local volunteers, the search yielded no results. The searchers were unable to locate the young boy. It was dark and it was cold at that point, too.

Time Was Running Out

Time Was Running Out

Getting More Worried

As time went on, and no one had found the missing boy, authorities became increasingly worried about him getting sick if he wasn’t found soon. In his case, the weather was deadly due to the fact that he was not wearing warm clothes. This spurred them to act faster.

Getting More Worried

Getting More Worried

An Urgent Search

They were well aware that he was dressed in insufficiently warm clothing to keep him warm during the night. For someone his age and size, that may prove lethal. It was critical that he be located as quickly as possible. This was the point at which the search for Kaydon drew in an increasing number of people. They were all aware of the urgency of rapidly locating him. None of them wanted to hear about the possibility of a tragedy as a result of this.

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An Urgent Search

The Search Continues

For the next couple of hours, the search continued. Within a half-mile radius of the Leach family home, they focused on that area. In order to expand the search into the surrounding rural and mountainous area, they had to wait until the morning.

The Search Continues

The Search Continues

They Hoped He Was Okay

His parents were undoubtedly worried about him. They were nervous, scared, and even guilty for allowing him to play alone outside. It took some time, but they eventually found out that Kaydon was safe and sound. What actually happened?

They Hoped He Was Okay

They Hoped He Was Okay

A Dedicated And Close-Knit Community

By staying up all night, the residents of the community demonstrated how close-knit and dedicated they were. They provided the volunteers with water and snacks. It was their way of assisting the first responders who had been searching for Kaydon nonstop.

A Dedicated And Close-Knit Community

A Dedicated And Close-Knit Community

They Were Determined To Find Him

Kaydon had to be somewhere out there, they knew. It was only a matter of staying committed and focused. They had no intention of abandoning the mission until Kaydon was returned to his family. They were dead set on doing just that.

They Were Determined To Find Him

They Were Determined To Find Him

The Daylight Comes

It became a little easier to locate the young boy once it was daylight again. While the search for him remained difficult, no one gave up hope. They were all holding out hope that they would be able to find Kaydon alive and well.

The Daylight Comes

The Daylight Comes

Losing Time

It was time for the crews to get down and look for Kaydon some more, now that they had even more ideas of where to look. Kaydon’s parents were naturally concerned that he was scared, hungry, and alone somewhere. Everyone hoped he was doing well.

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Losing Time

No Stone Left Unturned

Because it was possible that he had fallen in or drowned, search crews went to the lake to look for him. They didn’t notice him, though. The Blackhawk chopper continued to look for him from above as the ground search continued.

No Stone Left Unturned

No Stone Left Unturned

Covering All Grounds

They decided to look at the mountainsides and various abandoned buildings in the area after checking out the lake. It was possible that Kaydon sought refuge in one of those structures to avoid the cold. Sadly, they were unable to locate him there as well.

Covering All Grounds

Covering All Grounds

Still Missing

After the early morning hours had passed, they still had no idea where Kaydon Leach was. His family tried to think of other places he could have gone. Is there something sinister going on here? It sounded like an impossibility in their community to the people there.

Still Missing

Still Missing

His Parents Didn’t Understand

It made no sense to his parents that he had vanished without warning. After all, he was well aware of his curfew and the limits of his freedom. Something didn’t add up here, and everyone knew it.

His Parents Didn't Understand

His Parents Didn’t Understand

Thinking Outside The Box

To figure out where Kaydon might have gone while playing outside, the rescuers tried to think like a child. This only encouraged them to think creatively. They even went to places and looked in places they would not have looked otherwise. They checked the woods as well as the abandoned buildings. They didn’t realize it at the time, but they were getting closer.

Thinking Outside The Box

Thinking Outside The Box

Getting Close

They began looking for abandoned structures in the region. They then went deeper into the woods to continue their search. They had no idea that they were coming closer and closer to finally discovering Kaydon. They had a sneaking suspicion they were on to something.

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Getting Close

The Woods

The crew made sure to check the entire area when they went into the woods not far from the neighborhood. They were officially out of options for where Kaydon could have gone if he wasn’t there. The afternoon was drawing to a close, and everyone knew they’d be stuck when night fell. Time was running out, but they were distracted when they heard a strange noise in the woods.

The Woods

The Woods

A Startling Noise

The afternoon progressed. All of the volunteers involved were aware that they needed to continue searching until it became dark and night fell. The clock was ticking, quite literally. They were all startled by a noise. It came from within the woods. It piqued their interest immediately. What if it was him pleading for help?

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A Startling Noise

The Growl

The rescuers finally found something useful 22 hours after this young boy went missing. They had all heard a growl coming from the woods. They could hear the growling becoming louder and stronger as they moved closer to the source. Despite the fact that they had no idea what they might see, they continued on. They felt compelled to investigate because it sounded exactly like a growling dog. They were deep in the woods, and there were a lot of options for them to explore.

The Growl

The Growl

What Animal Was It?

They were unaware of what they might discover, but they kept on searching for the source of the noise. Knowing it sounded a lot like a dog growl, they did not take too long to discover the nature of the noise. However, in the middle of the woods, it was possible that the sound could be quite a different noise altogether.

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What Animal Was It?

Found At Last

Rescuers and volunteers arrived at the area where the sound was originating. Suddenly, they found Kaydon! Only a quarter of a mile from his house. Since he hadn’t ventured far during the night, he had to wait until the morning to start on his expedition.

Found At Last

Found At Last

Who Stayed With Him?

The young boy must have become disoriented, paralyzed by fear, and chose to remain where he was. However, what surprised everyone was that he was not alone when he went missing. No, he was not alone.

Who Stayed With Him

Who Stayed With Him?

The Protector

Kaydon Leach had been missing for 22 hours when they found him around 3:30 p.m. that day. They discovered him and discovered what was making the growling sound. Chula, his black-and-white terrier, was the culprit!

The Protector

The Protector

Chula Kept Him Safe

“The dog growled at the rescuers when they approached Kaydon, so the dog is a protector,” BCSO Chief Deputy Jeff French said in a statement. Chula did everything she could to keep Kaydon safe and sound throughout the night while they were in the woods.

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Chula Kept Him Safe

Some Medical Attention Needed

When they discovered the missing boy, he did not appear to be in good health. When they asked Kaydon how he felt, all he said was, “Very cold.” He wore only gray sweatpants and a black shirt. This accounts for his extreme cold that night. Additionally, his skin was purple and cold.

Some Medical Attention Needed

Some Medical Attention Needed

They Got Help

Additionally, the search team inquired as to his whereabouts. They informed Kaydon that they would transport him to safety after he gave them the address. He required medical attention, but they also had to look after Chula the dog.

They Got Help

They Got Help

Very Relieved

Before these responders could transport Kaydon to his home, they transported him to Blount Memorial Hospital to be evaluated by medical personnel. They wanted to make certain he did not suffer from hypothermia or any other health problems before dropping him off at home.

Very Relieved

Very Relieved

Couldn’t Believe The Good News

The family was overjoyed to see the little boy safe and sound. Their minds simply could not comprehend that Chula was standing right in front of them the entire time. It was almost like something you’d see in a movie or a book!

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Couldn’t Believe The Good News

An Official Statement

Kaydon’s family decided to issue an official statement while he was being checked out at Blount Memorial Hospital. They initially had no information about his condition or the circumstances surrounding his disappearance. Nonetheless, his family wanted to express their gratitude to the incredible local volunteers and rescue teams who went above and beyond to help them in finding their son.

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An Official Statement

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