On Sunday, May 3, shortly before noon, Idaho Falls Police Dispatch received a 911 call about a missing child near the Tru by Hilton Hotel on Lindsey Ave. The caller reported that a 5-year-old boy was missing. Nearly at the same time, another caller reported that a young boy was pulled from the canal between the Tru by Hilton Hotel and the Best Western Driftwood Inn on Utah Avenue and that CPR was in progress.
Multiple Idaho Falls Police Officers immediately responded. Officers were flagged down in front of the Best Western Driftwood Inn by three hotel employees who directed officers to where the child was. Officers found the child near the back of the hotel where he was conscious and breathing and was being tended to by employees and family members.
According to witnesses and involved individuals, the child’s family was visiting the area and staying at the Tru by Hilton Hotel. Family members had been preparing for a family photo inside the hotel when the child wandered away from the family. Family members quickly noted the child’s absence and immediately began searching for him.
Across the canal, several employees from the Best Western Driftwood Inn were on a break and congregated outside at the back of the building. While on break, employees reported seeing a woman (the child’s mother) panicking on the bank of the canal as though searching for something and then seeing a child face-down in the canal as the woman began yelling and jumped in the canal after the child.
One of the employees reported that she saw that the child was closer to them than the mother, and immediately also jumped into the canal. The first employee recovered the child who was not breathing and passed him to a second employee who was waiting on the east bank. The second employee immediately began CPR. Additional employees called 911, brought warm towels and blankets from inside the hotel to dry and warm the child. Three employees then went to meet first responders en route to the hotel on the main road to ensure police and EMS were able to find the child swiftly.
The child quickly became responsive and began breathing normally. Additional family members joined the group there as officers arrived on scene. When EMS arrived, the child was transported to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for evaluation but was doing well and expected to recover quickly.
The Idaho Falls Police Department would like to commend those employees from the Best Western Driftwood Inn that were on break that day for their quick and level-headed actions. Their willingness to act and to give of themselves in an emergency directly led to the positive outcome of this situation. Each of the employees who jumped into the canal, called 911, performed CPR, provided the child and family with towels and blankets, and who flagged down arriving first responders played key roles in the rescue of this child and ensuring his wellbeing.
With the weather growing warmer the Idaho Falls Police Department is seeing an increase in 911 calls regarding missing small children. This is an annual springtime trend as the weather turns and young children have more desire to be outdoors exploring the world around them. IFPD would like to encourage parents to talk with their children about safety while outdoors. Encourage children to stay in your yard or close to home, and while away from home to stay close to parents or older responsible siblings. Make sure children know to always ask a parent’s permission before going outside or leaving backyards, or other agreed upon area. Educate children about water safety, roadways, and other hazards they may encounter outside, and to not play near these hazards.
In the event that your child is missing, parents or other caregivers should not hesitate to call 911. First responders would always prefer to hear that a child has been found moments after the call was placed to 911 or within moments of officers arriving, than risk something happening to the child if they are not found quickly. Idaho Falls Police Officers are always available to search for a missing child. IFPD would also encourage parents to regularly take updated photos of their children that clearly show their facial features. In addition to acting as family keepsakes, these photos can be instrumental in the search for a missing child.