Search for missing New London boy has a happy ending
NEW LONDON - A little boy out for an afternoon adventure with his puppy got lost in a wooded area northeast of New London on Monday, triggering a frantic search.
After the nearly 2 1/2-hour search Monday, Elijah Jacobson, 4, was found waist-deep in a pond about a quarter of a mile from his rural New London home. His feet were stuck in the mucky bottom of the wetland. He was wet and cold, but otherwise just fine. His puppy, Izzy, never left his side.
"It's a good ending. It's a good ending," said Cindy Jacobson, overcome with relief that her son was found and gratitude for the volunteers who helped in the search.
"Thank you. Thank you. Thank you," said Elijah's dad, Terry Jacobson, as he shook hands with sheriff's deputies, neighbors and students who'd walked through tall grass, woods and hills looking for Elijah.
The search involved more than 50 community volunteers -- including neighbors who brought their all-terrain vehicles. Law enforcement officers from Kandiyohi County, rescue personnel from Spicer, New London and Kandiyohi County and officers from the State Patrol also assisted. A State Patrol helicopter was deployed.
More volunteers were arriving, but were turned back after Elijah was found around 5 p.m.
"It was a sigh of relief, that's for sure," said Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog, when he'd gotten the call that a volunteer had found the boy.
Elijah, who'll be 5 in June, was outside playing in the yard with his mom and puppy when Cindy Jacobson went to the house for seven to 10 minutes "at the most." When she came back out, Elijah and Izzy were nowhere to be seen.
Jacobson frantically called family and authorities. She also called Chad Powers, a New London-Spicer High School teacher and track and gymnastics coach. Jacobson coaches gymnastics with Powers and knew he'd be with his track students' after-school practice. She was hoping he'd come help look for Elijah and bring some of those students with him.
That's exactly what he did.
Powers said he quickly rounded up about a dozen students who spread out over the hilly and wooded terrain near Jacobson's home.
Powers figured that a "little kid would go play in the water," so that's where he headed.
After crossing a fence, Powers saw puppy footprints in the mud and soon thereafter viewed Elijah standing in about two feet of water in a small pond.
"He was belly deep in the water," Powers said.
Powers called the Kandiyohi County dispatch and an ATV was sent to pick Elijah up.
State Patrol Officer Joy Illies had Elijah seated on the back of the ATV and wrapped in a blanket. He was immediately engulfed my family members when the ATV came to stop in his front yard.
"He never quit talking," Illies said with a smile. His only apparent concern was that his socks were muddy and his shoes were left at the bottom of the pond.
As the search party milled around, Hartog thanked the volunteers.
"Somebody's up above watching out for us," he told the group.
Elijah's grandmother, Arlene Newland of New London, was crying one moment and laughing the next as she saw Elijah safe and sound.
The response was overwhelming, Newland said. "If I ever get lost, I want to be in Kandiyohi County."
Carolyn Lange is a reporter for the West Central Tribune of Willmar, which is owned by Farmington Independent parent company Forum Communications.