MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The massive search for 6-year-old Ethan Haus ended in a 300-acre cornfield about a mile and a half from his house.
After getting off the school bus near his rural Becker home, Ethan and his dog Remmy did what many 6-year-olds do, but the playful walk quickly turned to panic.
"That's the report from his siblings; he'd gotten off the bus, played with his dog and when they went to check on him, discovered they couldn't find him," Sherburne County Sheriff Joel Brott said.
Pleas for volunteers over social media turned out over 600, and the search got more desperate as darkness set in.
"I had a sick feeling in my stomach. We needed to get out there," Jared Crimando said.
Buddies Crimando and Jesse Weaver were searching this huge cornfield when the bitter wind suddenly quieted.
"And right when we stopped, the wind stopped and I could hear Remmy, their dog, whining," Crimando said.
That's when Steve Fines flew over the spot with his infrared-imaging drone and what he saw on his screen, was soon in the hands of the two men.
"They were hanging out; the dog did not leave his side the entire time," Crimando said.
Dressed only in a hooded sweatshirt, the two dads knew just what to do.
"I got to him, put gloves and a hat on him, asked if I could pick him up and he said, 'Absolutely.' I said, 'We're going to bring you to your mommy,' and he said, 'I miss my mommy,' and away we went," Weaver said.
Out of a cold, dark field, the volunteers emerged carrying a grateful little gift.
"The first thing he told us was thanks for finding us, thanks for finding me," Weaver said.
Brott called it a wonderful team effort, saying, "Everybody says they live in the best community; Sherburne County Proved it last night."
Jared Crimando agrees, and called the feeling of finding Ethan, "As close to pure joy as you can get."
Sheriff Brott says this may not have been the happy ending without all the volunteers and the technology of the drone. It seems everything came together perfectly to bring little Ethan home safely.
Overnight temperatures in Sherburne County dipped into the low 40s, making Ethan's recovery all the more desperate. The sheriff said this was truly the epitome of a community caring for its own.
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