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Florida program helps reunite Hudsonville family

10:09 PM, Mar 29, 2013   |    comments
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HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) - A family is grateful to have their 10-year-old son back safe after he wandered away from home.

The boy, who has special needs, appeared to be aimlessly wandering the streets of Hudsonville around 8 a.m. Friday  when a driver spotted him.

"[She] thought it was kind of odd, so [she] stopped, tried to have some contact with this young man, and found that he wasn't really able to communicate very well," says Lt. Lee Hoeksema of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies called to the area around 36th Avenue and New Holland found the boy only wearing a jacket and boots.

"We determined this [case] fit the 'A Child is Missing' criteria, and we made a call to 'A Child is Missing,'" adds Lt. Hoeksema.

A Child is Missing is a Florida based company, which sends out automated calls to people living in the area where a person is found. The messages ask for anyone with tips to help. In this case, 2,700 calls were made in a 2.6 mile radius.

"Shortly after the calls started, somebody recognized the information from the call, called our dispatch center and said 'this child belongs to my neighbors,'" explains Lt. Hoeksema.

It's only the third time Ottawa County has had to use A Child is Missing in the past few years, but investigators say it's still a great tool, which everyone needs to sign up for.

Sign up for the free calls here.

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