BEND, Ore. (WHDH) — Deputies in Oregon found a baby who had been missing for hours in the woods, after he had been abandoned by his own father.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office said 25-year-old Brandon Blouin walked out of a wooded area in Bend on Thursday morning, telling deputies he and an 18-year-old woman had been living there in their car with their 1-year-old son Bradley.
Blouin said the woman walked away from the vehicle, leaving him and the little boy alone. He took off in search of her, bringing Bradley along with him, but at some point he put the baby down in the forest and left him there.
“Blouin is believed to have been under the influence of a controlled substance when he made the choice set him down and walk away,” deputies wrote.
Deputies launched a massive search effort, with personnel on the ground along with the deployment of drones and helicopters with thermal image sensors.
A detective in the search party finally found little Bradley more than six hours later, saying the baby was lying face down and naked, covered in dirt and pine cones.
Detective Doug Jackson said he and a sheriff’s sergeant were relieved to hear the boy make noise as he woke up, and quickly wrapped him in a jacket to bring to paramedics.
“I don’t think we could’ve gotten a much bigger win than this,” Jackson told the Oregonian. “When you have a needle in a haystack situation like this, it could go a number of a different ways. It was very much a team effort, and I’m just thankful that we found the kiddo.”
Authorities said Blouin and the child’s mother both appeared to be under the influence of methamphetamine. Deputies arrested Blouin, charging him with child neglect, endangering the welfare of a minor, assault, and criminal mistreatment. The sheriff’s office said the assault charge stems from an injury Bradley suffered when they believe he was in Blouin’s care.
The little boy is now recovering in the hospital, and is in police custody. The sheriff’s office says they are collecting toys, clothes and blankets for Bradley.
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