Fire siren helps find missing toddler

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lewisburg Police Chief Chuck Forbis was "in the process of issuing an Amber Alert" when a missing 4-year-old was found, thanks to the clever idea of the Fire Department's Capt. Larry Baxter.

According to the missing person report filed by Officer John Christmas of the Lewisburg Police Department, the child wandered out the front door of her home and her "mother said she was gone approximately five minutes before she contacted the police."

The police called the Lewisburg Fire Department for help, and Chief Larry Williams said they quickly had over 30 firefighters searching the neighborhood, including some from the Belfast and Berlin departments.

"We all work together and support one another," explained Williams. "With a missing person, the quicker you find them the better."

Baxter and LPD Sgt. Jerry Broyles were jointly in charge of the search, and Baxter got the idea to sound one of the sirens, thinking "when children hear sirens they want to run and see what it's about."

The child had fallen asleep, but she woke up at the sound of the siren and emerged from her resting place: the back seat of her mother's car.

Christmas' report states, "Child was found in the back seat of the vehicle that the mother was riding around in. The vehicle was not at the residence when officers arrived."

The mother had gone driving around the streets, looking for her daughter, without realizing that the child was in the car at the time.

All identifying details of the child have been deleted from the report available to the public at the police department. Chief Forbis said the girl was missing for 20 to 30 minutes.