Police chief goes on the air to get lost boy home safe
A 9-year-old Missouri Heights boy became the subject of an urgent, but somewhat brief, search Tuesday after his mother reported him missing.
The boy, a Basalt Elementary School student, was reported missing to the Basalt Police Department late Tuesday afternoon.
Police Chief Keith Ikeda called Jim Laurence, KSNO radio’s afternoon news anchor, around 4:45 and asked if he could make an on-air announcement about the child.
Laurence put Ikeda on the air immediately. The chief announced that a 4-foot blond boy in a red T-shirt and blue jeans, wearing a blue backpack, had been missing since before 3:30 p.m., when he was last seen at his school. He asked everyone listening in the midvalley to keep an eye out.
Within about 10 minutes, the boy was spotted walking down the side of Highway 82 near the turnoff to the Willits subdivision. An alert listener called the Pitkin County communications office, which relayed the message to Ikeda. Meanwhile, Basalt Police Officer Steve Hopple noticed a small boy walking along the shoulder of Highway 82 and pulled over.
“He was pointing toward Missouri Heights and telling me he had to get home,” Hopple said.
The officer said the boy appeared a little shaken from having missed his bus home and from walking down the side of the highway at rush hour.
He and a friend of the boy’s parents remained with him until Chief Ikeda picked him up to take him back to Basalt, where his mother was waiting.
At 5:05 p.m., Ikeda was back live on KSNO reporting that the child had been found safe and sound.
“The radio station was a big help. We had 100 pairs of eyes out there looking,” Hopple said.
The city of Aspen has taken over the duties of producing the Fourth of July celebration in town and has an entire day planned to celebrate America’s birthday.
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