Jason Burton, a 21-month-old toddler from Spartanburg County, South Carolina, has been reunited with his family after a day of frantic searching by more than 200 people.
Jason Burton wandered off through the front door sometime Friday when his mother was in the bathroom, his family told police.
Though Jason Burton was lost for more than a day in woods near his home and spent a rainy night outdoors, rescuers found him unharmed and sleeping on a log beneath the river’s embankment.
The boy was examined by doctors at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center and described as being in good condition for his night alone in the elements.
About 200 people – including members of the Department of Natural Resources, the South Carolina Guard, and the Spartanburg County Sheriffs’ office – searched for Jason Burton from the time he disappeared from his home early Friday afternoon.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said a deputy and a state natural resources officer kayaking on the Tyger River about two miles upstream from the boy’s home spotted the toddler sleeping on a log beneath an embankment.
Jason Burton was flown by helicopter to a command post where officers and his parents were waiting.
Though his blood pressure and heart rate were down, he rapidly improved on the way to Regional One Hospital.
“I’m just glad he’s found, thank God, thank God!” the toddler’s mother Brittney Burton told WSPA News.
Sheriff Chuck Wright said Jason Burton was incredibly lucky. “A 21 month old isn’t supposed to survive in the river, he’s not supposed to do that, he’s just curious like other kids supposed to get in the water,” WSPA News reported.
Chuck Wright called Jason Burton’s safe return a Christmas miracle, especially due to the size of the search. He said around five to six miles of land were covered around the boy’s home.
A child that age, he said, usually doesn’t go farther than a mile.