Child lost in corn maze not discovered missing until the next day

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A Utah family failed to notice that their entire family did not exit the corn maze they’d entered together. It took them 12-hours to report that the 3-year-old boy was missing.

The child was found alone and crying in a corn maze Monday night, according to KSL. His mother did not make her report until Tuesday morning, nearly 12 hours after he was found.

According to West Jordan Police Sgt. Joe Monson, the boy was seen alone in the maze on Monday night. Staff from the Crazy Corn Maze was alerted by a good Samaritan, who reportedly brought the child to them. The staff tried to locate his guardians, using bullhorns to announce their discovery, at around 8 p.m.

“They had staff out with bullhorns announcing they had a found child, they waited at the gate, but no one showed up for the child,” Monson said.

Kendall Schmidt, one of the establishment’s owners, said they even went car to car to locate the family of the boy, who he says was scared and crying.

“It was a stressful night for us, worrying about him and worrying about his family,” Schmidt said. He reports that the boy could not help them identify himself or his family, as he was only able to tell them his age, his brother’s name and what they called his cat.

An officer watched “Finding Dory” with the boy in her car, to cheer him up, Schmidt said.

When the maze closed, concerned parties were left with no choice but to take the boy to the police station, who contacted the state’s Child and Family Services.

The boy’s West Jordan family, meanwhile, did not notice the 3-year-old boy’s absence until the next morning, when the child’s mother called the police at about 7:45 a.m. She reported that she could not find her little boy, and said he may still be in the corn maze, Monson said.

The boy and his mother had reportedly gone to the maze with a large group of people, and the two somehow became separated. She did not realize her son was missing, after arriving back home, and ended up falling asleep while watching a movie. She later went to bed, still without realizing that the boy wasn’t home, according to police.

Investigators say several families live inside the child’s home, with many children among them, which may have led the adults to lose track of the young boy.

As Schmidt notes, it isn’t unheard of for people to get lost or separated from each other in the maze.

“Kids have little legs of their own and little minds of their own, and it’s not hard to get separated,” he said. “You have to constantly be watching and re-counting and making sure you have everyone.”

“This could have been a whole lot worse,” Monson said. “We’ve been out on cases where we are looking for a missing child in cold weather.”

The boy is safe and has now been reunited with his family. No citations or charges have been filed against them as of yet, according to Monson, but the case is still being investigated.

Police, together with DCFS, will work with the families to see if the incident was merely an isolated oversight, or if charges are warranted.

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