Oregon State Police

On Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers from both the Salem and McMinnville Area Commands responded to Grand Ronde in Polk County to help look for a missing child. At about 5:30 p.m. a four-year-old child had wandered off from his home on property which includes 20 acres of thick vegetation. It was cold, dark, and there had been recent predator attacks on livestock on the property. 

The child had been missing for about two hours when law enforcement officers from numerous agencies arrived on scene to assist with the search. Personnel from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office, Salem Police Department, Grand Ronde Tribal Police, Polk County Fire District, Polk County Search and Rescue, and OSP searched the property and surrounding area for approximately two hours before the child was found safe. 

Troopers Lorence and Watkin of the McMinnville Area Command were among the first law enforcement on scene and assisted with coordinating the search. They were joined by Troopers Bass and Stetson from the Salem Area Command and Sr. Trooper Smith, and his K-9, responded from off-duty to assist with the search. 

After about four hours on his own in the cold, the child was found by Trooper Lorence near a pullout on Hwy. 18 about one mile west of the property. Trooper Lorence had separated from the main search team to search near the highway. At about 9:30 p.m., he located the child who asked, “Can you take me home?” The child was evaluated by medical personnel on scene and reunited with his grateful family. The child had minor injuries from a fall; however, was otherwise uninjured. 

Captain Kyle Kennedy said, “We are grateful this child was found so quickly and unharmed. We appreciate the compassion and dedication displayed by our troopers and all the responding personnel. We know how distressing this situation was for this child and his family and are glad of the positive outcome.”

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