Tonawanda News

May 25, 2013

Missing children returned unharmed

By Michael Regan michael.regan@tonawanda-news.com
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Two young children who disappeared while playing outside their homes on Daniel Drive for nearly an hour Friday morning sent dozens of police, firefighters, family members and a K-9 unit on an area-wide search.

Eventually, the boy and girl were discovered in a nearby patch of woods.

An Erie County Sheriff’s helicopter was also in route when the children, police believe to be ages 2 and 3, were discovered. Police Chief William Hall — who ironically left a conference on missing children to participate in the effort — said relatives told him that the children, who live in separate homes a few doors apart, had walked a wooded trail to “go look for mice.” 

A call first came in to police at 11:44 a.m., sending North Tonawanda rescue workers on a frantic search for the children, before Officer Shawn Larson found them crying on a trail at 12:34 p.m. just east of their homes, which are backed up to a large swath of woods. Hall said about a dozen officers participated in the search and 25 to 30 firefighters. 

A report of a suspicious vehicle added more urgency to the scene, before the children were returned to their parents who were “relieved and happy,” Hall said. An Amber Alert had been discussed but had not yet been put in place. No criminal charges were filed. 

Zach Misiak, 17, who said he is the older brother of the missing boy, first received a phone call from his father explaining the children were missing. He then searched the woods, found nothing and preceded to drive around the neighborhood to locate them to no avail. 

Bob Brennan, who lives next door to one of the children, said he first heard about the incident on his scanner, before he came outside to investigate. He said he often sees the children playing near the woods. 

“I”m not surprised that this happened,” he said. “It’s actually a big area back there.” 

The children were returned in a police car to the arms of their mothers, who had been a part of the frantic search. 

“I’m so glad she’s back with me,” said Jennifer Carcz, just after police returned her chid, Anastasia. “My baby, my miracle baby.” 

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.