Crews suspend search for the night for missing Magoffin Co. toddler


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Crews have suspended their search for 22-month-old Kenneth Neil Howard for the night.

The search for the missing toddler officially ended around 2:30 p.m. Monday. It will start again Tuesday.

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Magoffin County Search and Rescue says Howard disappeared around 7:30 p.m. Sunday night from his home off Kenneth Combs Road, a mile from the Floyd County Line.

“This is a beautiful, little 22-month-old boy,” Ritt Mortimer, of Maggofin County Search and Rescue, said.

“It’s gut-wrenching. It really is. We were here all night last night, flew the drone, had three different dogs out here to try and find the child. You know, you’re talking about a child that’s just 22-months-old,” Robert Prater, the Magoffin County Emergency Management Director, said.

There are conflicting accounts of how the boy disappeared.

Prater, a family friend, says he was told Howard’s father was on his front porch, talking to someone, and they think Howard probably went outside through the back door.

ABC News reports Captain Carter Conley with the Magoffin County Rescue Squad says the boy’s father told him he was in the front yard with his son then went back toward the home and when he turned around, the boy was gone.

Search and Rescue says it searched the entire area of Kenneth Combs Road Sunday night using an infrared drone, ground teams, and dog teams.

Captain Conley says the search began around 8:30 Sunday night and lasted until early Monday morning around 6 a.m. when the crews took a break to let the dogs rest.

The search started again around 11 Monday morning and included two helicopters circling the area.

Prater says it was so cold Sunday night, he’s worried Howard could have hypothermia. He has spoken to the boy’s family.

“They’re just tore up. It’s the not knowing, not knowing where he’s at, not knowing what happened. They’re just emotions. Everybody’s trying to be optimistic, but…they’re hoping for the best,” Prater said.

Several rescue teams from surrounding counties are helping and so are Kentucky State Police.

The search crews say the area they’re working in is wooded and has rough, hilly terrain.