'I just had to get to him': NJ trooper describes moment he rescued missing 4-year-old boy, dog from woods
ATLANTIC COUNTY, N.J. - Relief; shock; pure happiness. Time stood still for one precious moment as a trooper got to reunite a family after what must have been the most distressing evening of their lives.
New Jersey State Police were dispatched to a home in Buena Vista Township for a report of a missing 4-year-old boy last week.
The boy's father said they were making cupcakes when he walked away for a bathroom break. He came back to find Parker, his 4-year-old son, and their dog Toby were gone.
"I thought okay, he ran towards the golf course because that would be the direction he normally goes… or he goes to the pit for the 11th hole, which is directly outside our door," Parker's dad said in a press conference Monday. "He wasn't there."
He searched for about an hour-and-a-half, although for this dad it felt like the "blink of an eye."
Troopers then gathered a description of the boy, and began their search as neighbors said they heard crying.
One trooper started running towards the cry, and came across Toby - the family dog. They had wandered about a quarter to a half-mile from home through the woods.
"I just kept taking off, I didn't really feel tired because I just had to get to him," the trooper said.
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It was his body cam footage that police released last week, showing the moment he rescued the boy and put him right into his mom's arms.
"Calls like this put things into perspective… It's hard to put into words," he said.
Parker's mom was on her way home from work when she got the call from her husband that Parker was missing.
"I felt completely lost… It's like time wasn't moving fast enough," she said. "I was trying to get home as fast as possible, and it's like, why is time going so slow?"
She said the moment she saw her son she felt a "surge of energy" and she just started running until she got to hold Parker again.
"I'm just extremely grateful to everyone, the whole neighborhood, that put in the effort to find my son just to make sure that nothing that happened to him," she said.
Parker's mom and dad say the 4-year-old hasn't suffered any backlash from the ordeal.
"All he wanted was a tablet, and we gave him a tablet," they said. "He's a tough little boy."
As for Toby, he's getting spoiled with top sirloin steak!