PIEDMONT, S.C. (WSPA-TV) – When a child goes missing, seconds count, according to the first responders who search for them. This was especially true, Thursday, when a three-year-old boy went missing near his Piedmont home on Marlena Avenue.
“We thought they were hollering for a missing dog and I happened to come out front. Somebody stopped me and asked if I’d seen a missing boy,” said neighbor, Eric Pinson.
It was a question that made Pinson’s stomach drop.
“It kinda shocked me and I was like ‘Oh, Lord, this is not good,’” said Pinson.
Just a few doors down, a child only a few months older than the nephew in his arms was gone; lost somewhere in the thick brush and creek beds near his Piedmont home.
“It tore my nerves up. I couldn’t…I just thought “what if it was him” and I was glad to see such a strong response,” said Pinson.
A mass of law enforcement responded, including k-9’s, a helicopter and swift water teams.
Within two hours, the child was found thanks to swift police work and a Code Red Alert, according to Greenville County Sheriff, Will Lewis.
“Code Red is really for those critical emergency situations, [like when] children are missing,” said Lewis.
Established in 2013 and paid for by the state, Lewis said Code Red makes the public who’ve signed up for alert calls their extra set of eyes.
“When timing is essential, like for instance, today, with the 3 year old missing, you don’t have time. You don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ll be honest, it just scares you. As a first responder, timing is essential in getting everyone in the community involved,” said Lewis.
Fortunately for the neighbors on Marlena Avenue in Piedmont, they a celebrating a welcome family reunion.
“It’s a big relief. Big, big relief,” said Pinson
Code Red is free and you can sign up HERE.