Boy, 2, safe after wandering miles from Liberty County home

By Courtney Gilmore - Anchor/Reporter

LIBERTY COUNTY, Texas - A little boy is safe after he wandered more than two miles away from home.

Deputies found 2-year-old J.J. walking in the woods behind his house near Highway 105 and Fosteria Rd. Officers from Liberty County were called out to his parents home early Sunday evening.

"We were out for the weekend," said Nichole Burch, J.J.'s mom. "The babysitter was watching him, and she went into another room just for a moment, and when she came back he was gone. He must have opened the back door and slipped out. When we came home we checked all of his normal hiding places and we couldn't find him. We were scared to death!"

Neighbors and search crews rushed over to help. Officers blocked off a search perimeter and began to comb through the woods looking for him.

"We were trying to find him as soon as possible," said Captain Ken DeFoor, with the Liberty County Sheriff's Office. "It was cold outside, the sun was about to go down, and we were expecting rain. We didn't want that little boy out there in the rain by himself."

The little boy wasn't completely by himself. His three dogs followed him out of the home, including his new puppy Zena.

"Those dogs never leave his side," said Burch.

During the search, a dog tracked down J.J.'s scent, and found his diaper and a rope he was carrying.

Someone found J.J. walking in the woods near Highway 105. He was barefoot and only wearing a T-shirt.

"He was shivering, but the man brought him home, and gave him clothes and something to eat. He even played with him until the cops picked him up. We are so thankful that there are still good people out there," said J.J.'s dad, James Sumrall.

When his parents asked him why he went into the woods by himself and where he was going, he told them he was "hunting for hogs."

"This situation has brought us together," said Sumrall.

They say they are planning a dinner and fishing trip with the family that found him.

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