No borders: County sheriffs join to find missing LeRoy boy

First responders from across Osceola County and surrounding areas united to find a missing boy from LeRoy.

First responders from across Osceola County and surrounding areas united to find a missing boy from LeRoy.

Courtesy of the Osceola County Sheriff's Office

OSCEOLA COUNTY — When Lake County Sheriff Rich Martin received a call from the emergency management director of Osceola County, he was in his car within minutes to help find a missing child.

"We went over there and tried to help the best we could," Martin said. "Fortunately we found him safe and sound."

The missing boy was a 2-year-old who walked away from his home in LeRoy. Over a dozen law enforcement agencies united within 10 minutes to help find the missing child. 

From Osceola County Sheriff Mark Cool's perspective, it was an amazing sight to see several forces quickly unite to return the child to their family. He said it was an overwhelming amount of support, and it reminded him of his purpose.

"You know why you do what you do," when something like this happens, Cool said. 

"This was something you can't wait around," Martin said. "There's a window where we need to get on it and do a successful search."

"Everyone has a family," Cool said. "This was almost the best case scenario, to be able to reunite these parents with their son," he said. 

Cool said you "cant describe" how the parents felt when their child was missing, and there were tears of joy upon the reunion. The parents, naturally, were ecstatic.

"It was amazing sight," Cool said.

The search included two K9 units, one of which came from the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office and was handled by a deputy, a line-grid search of the wild area surrounding the property involving members of the community, and drones.

A person who lived locally saw the incident command center the Osceola County police had set up in the roadway, and offered to put his drone in the air to assist with the search. 

"Our first K9 was deployed and a minute later we had a drone in the air. That was a God moment, if you will, for him to be there within minutes and have a drone up," Cool explained.

Many of those involved in the search, including Martin, as well as Cool's unit, went home feeling good that they were able to assist this family.

"That was a great feeling for me, I know that, and my guys expressed that to me. It was a great feeling to be a part of that," Cool said. 

Martin shared this sentiment, also saying "half the time" they don't believe in borders at the Lake County Sheriff's Office and many other law enforcement agencies and fire departments across the Osceola County area. 

"It’s always a good experience working with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office," Martin said. "Anyone who needs help, if they’re in another county or not, we’ll bring further assistance when we can. I personally went out there because I know the relationship that we have," he said.

In addition to Martin and the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office's K-9 team, personnel who assisted in the search included the Meceola Central Dispatch, LeRoy Fire, Evart Fire, Lincoln Fire, Reed City Fire, Luther Fire, Hersey Fire, Evart Police Department, Osceola County EMS, Victim Services, Big Rapids Township (Drone Team), Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan State Police, Osceola County Emergency Management Department and Osceola County CERT team. 

Cool wants people to thank all the agencies involved, and said the good outcome of the search wouldn't have been possible without them.

"It would have been about five people out there trying to do this," Cool said, if all these agencies didn't provide their assistance.