US

Father of Missing Toddler Speaks Out: ‘It’s Just Like He Disappeared’

By Zachary Stieber

The father of a missing toddler has spoken out, saying he doesn’t know where his son went.

Kenneth Howard, 1, went missing on May 11 from his home in Salyersville, Kentucky.

Law enforcement officials haven’t said what the boy’s parents were doing when he vanished.

Father Elden Howard told WYMT on Tuesday that family members think Kenneth just walked out of the house.

“Yeah, it’s just like he disappeared. No sign, no nothing. That’s the reason I’m starting to think, if we can’t find him, somebody’s picked him up,” Howard said.

“I would just like to see him come home safe,” Howard added. “I guess it’s adrenaline. I can’t rest, can’t eat. I’ve ate one bologna sandwich since Sunday.”

Howard offered a $5,000 reward to anyone who found his boy.

Rescue workers were searching the area around the boy’s home on May 13 before suspending the search after about 24 hours to wait for more information.

Law enforcement in two helicopters led the search along with ground crews and two dogs.

“I mean how far can a 22-month-old child get? So at this time, we’re just concentrating on this area,” Magoffin County Sheriff Carson Montgomery told WKYT.

The area is steep and features lots of trees and brush and has proven challenging for rescue crews.

The weather, wet and cold, hasn’t helped, nor has it provided hope.

“It’s gut-wrenching. It really is,” emergency manager and family friend Robert Prater said, according to WKYT. “As cool as it got last night and the rain, you start to worry about hypothermia.”

“We always hope, we always pray, that a 22-month-old will be found safe,” added Magoffin Co. Search and Rescue Chief Carter Conley. “We feel that God has led us today with everything we do, and so we hope that He’ll continue to do that as we go forward.”

The sheriff’s department posted on Facebook on Monday, asking for help from members of the public.

“We want to thank everyone for their kindness, their donations of food, the offers to search and calls of concern our office has received throughout this terrible situation. Magoffin County Sheriff’s Office was first on scene when the toddler was reported missing and we have been on scene throughout the night and all day today. There is no limit to the effort being made to find this sweet child,” the department said.

“There is no greater tragedy than not knowing the whereabouts of a child and we will continue to do everything humanly possible to ensure he is found safe and sound and returned home to his family. If you have any leads, any information, anything you feel may be important to this investigation, please call the Sheriff’s Office @ 606-349-2914 or Magoffin County Dispatch @ 606-349-4403.”