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October 14, 2002

Missing boy found safe at foot of his mother's bed

From: Pawtucket Times, RI
Oct. 14, 2002

Donna Kenny Kirwan
EAST PROVIDENCE -- A 5-year-old hearing-impaired boy who was the target of a massive three-hour search by police, rescue workers and community volunteers Friday night was found safe and bundled under bedclothes at the foot of his mother's bed.

According to police, a Bureau of Criminal Investigation detective discovered the missing boy, Cameron Peloquin, around 2 a.m., when he checked under some bedclothes in a room that had already been searched.

The boy was asleep, wrapped up in bedding, and had apparently been oblivious to the search that was underway throughout his apartment complex and surrounding neighborhood.

According to East Providence Police Lt. Dennis Charbonneau, police had received a call that a child was missing at around 10:44 p.m. from the boy's mother, Sandie Young, of 18 Lee Road.

East Providence police put out an inter-city broadcast requesting thermal-seeking cameras.

In addition to the child being hearing-impaired, police were concerned about the drizzly weather, darkness and the fact that there are several wooded and marshy areas and bodies of water located nearby.

The response from police, fire and rescue units was immediate and substantial.

Among departments that answered the call with manpower, vehicles, special hazards trucks or equipment were Pawtucket, Providence, Seekonk, North Attleboro, Rehoboth, Cranston, Woonsocket, Cumberland, North Scituate, Lincoln, North Providence, Barrington, Warren, Harrisville, Oaklawn/Mapleville, Harmony, Chepachet and others.

Additionally, various state police units, a Providence police K-9 unit and other departments provided assistance, as well as numerous city residents who joined in the search efforts.

The search also included the activation of a computerized "A Child is Missing" network.

When the network is engaged, police enter the information about the missing child and an automated telephone system makes 1,000 calls to residents living in the immediate area, asking them to search their yards and any exterior buildings for the missing child.

Once this occurred, many neighbors volunteered to help search. "It was quite a community effort,"Charbonneau said. "The response was tremendous."

According to police reports, a search was conducted through nearby apartment complexes, along Veteran's Memorial Parkway and the Watchemoket Cove, the Metacomet Country Club and the fields and playground at the Martin Middle School.

Police said the boy's apartment had also been checked thoroughly, even down to looking underneath the mattress where he was sleeping, but the boy had apparently been wrapped up tightly at the foot of his mother's bed and was unaware of the swirl of activity going on around him.

"He was a small boy and he was wrapped up in the bedclothes," Charbonneau said. "Because he has trouble hearing under normal conditions, I guess he didn't hear people calling for him."

Charbonneau said that, obviously, everyone involved was greatly relieved when the boy was found safe."Fortunately, there was a happy ending," he said."The system worked the way it was supposed to work."

"It was one expensive shift, though."

©The Pawtucket Times 2002