The creek is the northern boundary of the Waddimba house, causing the search party to fear a tragic conclusion as they looked along the creek bed and in the tunnels underneath streets and some neighboring properties.
“In a situation like this, you can’t eliminate any possibility,” Covert said.
Not long after that, a county K-9 unit arrived and was given a small backpack that belonged to the boy to give the dogs his scent.
A small stretch of Glen Avenue, also known as state Highway 28, was shut down with traffic rerouted to Main Street. Media reports were issued and officials set up a center of operations at the Clara Welch Thanksgiving Home on nearby Grove Street.
By noon, police had a photo copy of Mutume and were stopping cars on Chestnut Street, showing it to all drivers and asking if anyone had seen the boy.
According to Covert, calls jammed up the police lines as people called, either with tips or to inquire how to help.
Forty-five minutes later, as the combined police groups were preparing a methodical grid search of the area, a call came from someone who had seen a small boy board a Birnie Bus, and the search turned from apprehension to joy when it was confirmed that the boy had ended up in Utica.
“It works,” Covert said of coordinated efforts of the various police and rescue units and the media alerts. “The entire community reached out to help and we really appreciate it.”