SANTA PAULA (CBSLA.com) — Crews have found a 4-year-old boy who wandered away from a relative’s home in Santa Paula and was lost for several hours in 100-degree heat.
“I’m just grateful that they found him. It was three or four hours. He just kind of wandered off and he’s back at home. They actually found him,” Calhoun said.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Captain Don Aguilar told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO a call came in around 10:40 a.m. reporting Anthony Arellanes missing from his home along the 3600 block of Santa Paula Ojai Road near Cherry Hill Road, just north of the city of Santa Paula.
Arellanes, of Palmdale, had been visiting his great uncle’s 1,000-acre ranch, CBS2/KCAL9’s Amy Johnson reported. Before he went missing, the boy ate breakfast and was outside playing with his five siblings. He began chasing after his uncle’s dogs and wandered off into an orchard.
“I was getting the dogs back and I saw dirt only,” Arellanes told CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Juan Fernandez.
The other children told their uncle, who spent 20 minutes searching for the boy before calling authorities.
Multiple search and rescue teams, many of them volunteers, braved the broiling heat to look for Arellanes.
The boy’s uncle, Gary Calhoun, said he was also afraid for Arellanes because there are mountain lions and snakes in the area.
“Honestly, I was thinking mountain lions,” Calhoun said
Five hours later, off-duty firefighter Joe Garces found the boy lying, uninjured, in a dry riverbed. He was reportedly alert and able to talk.
“He was hot and dry. His lips were cracked. I covered him with water, I doused him with water, had him drink some water. And we checked him for scratches. He was in good spirits,” Garces said.
Arellanes was evaluated at Santa Paula Hospital and released the same day.
When asked if he was afraid while he was lost, Arellanes simply said “no,” apparently unfazed by the whole experience.
“He wasn’t afraid. It was like he went out on a little nature hike. He was OK, so maybe I’m teaching him well,” Calhoun said.