Clark County Sheriff defends search decisions after missing toddler was found drowned
A Clark County toddler was pulled from a creek early Sunday morning by volunteers after a frantic 12-hour search, and now some of those community members are questioning the police response.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Clark County toddler was pulled from a creek early Sunday morning by volunteers after a frantic 12-hour search, and now some of those community members are questioning the police response.
Two-year-old William Roberts went missing Saturday afternoon in Borden, Ind. His disappearance prompted a massive search with multiple law enforcement agencies and hundreds of volunteers.
An hour into the search, police switched to a recovery mission because they suspected the boy had fallen into the creek.
“After that hour period of that intense search and rescue period, it switches to recovery,” Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel said. "And it's never easy to do that. It's always a tough call to make."
A few hours later, at approximately 7:30 p.m Saturday., the dive team was pulled out of the water when it got too dark for them to safely continue the recovery effort. Police had plans to begin searching again at 7 a.m. the next day.
Volunteers continued looking and found the boy's body shortly after 2 a.m., about 12 hours after he disappeared.
Amanda Heavrin recalls the moment she started performing CPR on the toddler after he was pulled from the creek.
"I was just like breathe, please breathe, please breathe,” Heavrin said. “I just, I couldn't stop."
Many volunteers contacted WDRB News wondering why police suspended the effort after just a few hours, and why there wasn't an officer or an ambulance on standby in case the child was found.
"It was really traumatizing,” Heavrin said. “I just think that that no kid deserves to be down there as long as he was."
Volunteers told WDRB News they did not see any police officers around when the boy was pulled from the creek.
"It was about 35 minutes in before somebody said EMS is coming,” Heavrin said. "I'm not trying to down anybody, I just think there should have been more help."
Noel says his officers were present in the area the entire time.
"We had an officer on Deam Lake Road, and when they got the 911 call, which is normal, he was on the scene within two minutes,” Noel said.
The Clark County Sheriff is standing by his department and defending its decisions.
"It ended up unfortunately in a horrible way, but I think that we used every effort that we could,” Noel said.
An autopsy confirmed the boy drowned. Sheriff Noel said it appears the boy died within minutes of falling into the creek. No foul play is suspected.
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