Atkinson Co. toddler found in cow pasture - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Atkinson Co. toddler found in cow pasture

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email  
 
ATKINSON COUNTY, GA (WALB) –A harrowing night in Atkinson County where a two-year-old boy spent the night outdoors, lost and cold.

Search teams from several counties began looking for the two year old around eight o'clock Thursday night.

Friday morning, Gavin Vaughn's grandfather found him in a cow pasture.

To the left of this light pole and more than a mile away from the Vaughn home on McCager Knowles Lane  is where two-year-old Gavin was found around 8:30 Friday morning.

"He was cold and he was stiff," said Charles Williams, the toddler's grandfather. "His eyes had turned dark but he was alive."

Williams and his friend Jonathan Loft searched through fields Friday morning on ATVs with flashlights.

"I found him sitting over inside bushes I don't know which one was the happiest me or him," said Williams. "We just thank God we found him."

Williams says Gavin was just sitting there playing with dirt.

The police tape marks the spot where little Gavin was found by his grandfather. Thursday night, temperatures reached of low of 30 degrees and community members say it's a miracle he survived.

"His core temperature was something like 83 degrees," said Williams. "His foot temperature was something like 60 so he was starting to get hypothermia."

The search for Gavin lasted for 12 hours.

Thursday, Gavin's parents Justin and Samantha Vaughn laid down to take a nap around 3 p.m. When they got up around six, Gavin was gone.

"Based on our investigation, it just looks like the child walked out of the house further down in the cow pasture," said Atkinson County Chief Investigator Ferrell Howell. "He loves cows and I think he just followed the cows three or four pastures down."

Williams says that Gavin unlocked the dead bolt of the door to get out. Gavin was reported missing around eight Thursday night.

"We had K-9 tracking dogs to try and find him we also had a GSP helicopter flying over the area," said Atkinson County Chief Deputy Eugene Paulk.

Dive teams were also en route before Gavin was found to search the ponds.  

Williams says he and the rest of the family are grateful to authorities and the community for all their support in the search for Gavin.

After Gavin Vaughn was found, he was taken to a Douglas hospital and then airlifted to Egleston in Atlanta where doctors have slowly brought his temperature back to normal. He does have a small amount of frostbite. He's expected to make a full recovery.  

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