Toddler Who Went Missing in Rural Eastern Kentucky on Mother's Day is Found ALIVE Near an Old Mine After Intense 3 Day Search


May 15, 2019

Thanks to all the Search and Rescue Teams who worked tirelessly to find Kenneth! Surviving three days and nights in rural Eastern Kentucky in just a diaper... that is one tough little boy!



'Mountain boy': Kenneth Howard, 22 months old, is pictured surrounded by rescuers on Wednesday afternoon in rural eastern Kentucky. Facebook via Magoffin County Sheriff's Department


  • Kenneth Neil Howard was found dehydrated but alive near old strip mine in eastern Kentucky at 2pm Wednesday 
  • Toddler was last seen at his family's Magoffin County, Kentucky, home at 7.30pm Sunday 
  • Parents said the 22-month-old boy went missing while playing in the yard; his father was nearby at the time 
  • Search and rescue crews were using bloodhounds, horses, ATVs, helicopters and special drones to search rugged terrain 


A 22-month-old boy who went missing from his home in rural eastern Kentucky was found safe near an old mine this afternoon, after surviving nearly three days alone in rough terrain. 

State police said in a tweet Kenneth Howard was discovered alive just before 2pm in Floyd County in the area of an old strip mine. He was taken by a helicopter to a pediatric trauma center to be examined.

A photo from the rescue operation emerged late Wednesday afternoon showing Kenneth wearing only a diaper and surrounded by volunteers.   

Captain Carter Conley, of the Magoffin County Rescue Squad, said the young boy is being treated for dehydration, but is otherwise 'in remarkably good condition.'


Found! Officials found the toddler at 2pm Wednesday after an intense search (pictured before his disappearance). Facebook


According to officials, Kenneth, who is just two months shy of his second birthday, was discovered at the bottom of a steep 50-foot hill located 1,755 feet away from his home, reported WTVQ

A search team with an expert tracker heard the toddler's cry and then used a basket tied to a rope to pull him to safety. 

One official marveled at the child's ability to make his away across the treacherous terrain and get as far as he did, calling him 'a true Kentucky mountain boy,' reported WYMT

News outlets reported earlier that Magoffin County Emergency Management Director Robert Prater said the original search area was a half-mile radius from the home but widened to about 1 mile and included the old, overgrown mining operation. 

Chief Conley said crews and volunteers were using bloodhounds, horses, ATVs, helicopters and drones with thermal cameras to comb through the rugged terrain in search of the toddler.

Kentucky State Police spokesman William Petry previously said there was no evidence of foul play.

Kenneth was last seen in his front yard at Racoon Hill at around 7.30pm on Sunday and was reported missing by his family an hour later. 

His mother, Samantha Moore, said in an emotional interview with WTVQ on Tuesday that her son was outside their home with his father late on Mother's Day when he went around the back of the house. 


A Search and Rescue team is pictured jumping for joy after learning that Howard has been found alive and well. Wolfe County SAR Team


When Kenneth's dad, Elden Howard, went looking for him, the boy was nowhere to be found.  

'It’s like he just disappeared,' Moore said in a barely audible, hoarse voice. 'Like he’s just gone.'

In a separate interview with WYMT, Elden Howard speculated that someone may have taken his son, given that so far all their search efforts have come to naught.

'I would just like to see him come home safe,' the father said. 'I can't rest, can't eat.' 


Search and rescue crews were using bloodhounds, horses, ATVs, helicopters and special drones to search rugged terrain. Wolfe County SAR Team


Howard described his young son as a curious toddler full of energy. He was offering a $5,000 reward for the boy's safe return.

Vigils were held Tuesday night in eastern Kentucky, with attendees praying for Kenneth and his family. 


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