Police: teamwork amongst departments helped officers locate missing Wilbraham kids

Two kids are home safe Wednesday after going missing Tuesday night in Wilbraham.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 6:29 PM EDT
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WILBRAHAM, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Two kids are home safe Wednesday after going missing Tuesday night in Wilbraham.

The brother and sister went missing after taking their dogs for a walk around the neighborhood.

Police told us that the teamwork from other departments helped bring these two home safely.

The parents of the 11-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl called police after their kids never came home from walking their dogs around the neighborhood on Tuesday.

“The trail that they were on, you can get twisted,” Wilbraham Police Captain Shawn Baldwin told us. “It’s thick, heavily wooded, it’s swampy. They just got themselves confused in there.”

Western Mass News is getting answers from first responders on how the search was conducted. The Wilbraham Police Department told us that they sent out a mutual aid request, asking for local departments to bring their equipment to help in the search.

East Longmeadow officer Alex Serra showed up on scene to help as a pilot for a thermal camera drone.

“With thermal camera imaging, we fly it over a wooded area and attempt to locate a heat signature for those missing juveniles, which we were able to do successfully, and bring those kids out of the woods,” Officer Serra explained.

He shared those images with Western Mass News. One was when they located the two children, walking in the woods after a neighbor spotted them on a trail. Then, another image shows officers escorting the children out to meet safely with their parents.

Police told us that many people in the community showed up to help with the search. They understand the desire to help, however they had to turn them away in fear they might disrupt the K-9 or drone deployed in the search.

“People in the woods, people with flashlights…. Every time a 911 caller saw a flashlight, they’re calling us,’ Captain Baldwin said. “It’s pulling our resources away from what we’re trying to do.”

Police said that the teamwork involved in Tuesday night’s search was what brought the two home safely in just two hours.

Police did want to thank those neighbors who reported sightings of the children and helped them pinpoint where they got lost.