10-year-old Special Needs Child Missing for Several Hours Located

10-year-old Special Needs Child Missing for Several Hours is Located

On July 25, 2011, at approximately 7:45 PM, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the 5400 block of Onyx Drive, Prescott, regarding a reported missing 10-year-old male. Bill Gunn, the child’s father, told dispatchers his son Dakota had been missing for about an hour. He noted that Dakota, who has special needs due to Down’s Syndrome, never wanders off beyond the porch of the home. Bill and his wife had searched the area, but could not locate him. Dakota was last seen wearing only a diaper and shoes.

Deputies arrived and began checking neighboring areas while calling out and organizing volunteer search teams from the Jeep Posse and Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Response Team’s Quad, 4x4 and Backcountry Units. The search also involved assistance provided by a Guardian helicopter crew out of Camp Verde who flew for nearly two hours during the search effort. The Gunn’s home backs up to wilderness and creek landscape which soon became a focus for YCSO search personnel.

The search continued throughout the night and just after 1:15 AM this morning, a resident in the Victorian Estates development heard some noise in a wash below his residence. This development is about ½ mile northeast of Dakota’s home. When he went to determine the source, he found Dakota in the wash area adjacent to Mulberry Street in the Estates. The resident directed deputies into the area where they found Dakota in good condition with the exception of minor scratches. Deputies carried Dakota to safety where he was treated by on scene medical personnel and reunited with his parents. He was hospitalized briefly for examination and released.

Dakota told his parents he had wandered off to look for his dog.

The Gunn family would like to thank YCSO deputies, volunteer search and rescue teams, neighbors and especially the alert resident who found their son.