At 6:54pm on the above date, the Lafayette Police responded to the Tippecanoe County Extension Office (3150 Sagamore Parkway South) in reference to a missing child. The child was 4 years of age and last seen by the parents who were both in the area. Due to the age of the child, multiple officers immediately were summoned to the location and began assisting with the search. The parents and several nearby citizens also began searching for the missing child.
During the search, an officer looked into the van belonging to the parents. Although the van appeared to be empty, the officer was familiar with a storage compartment directly behind the front seats in the floor. The child was located in this compartment. It is believed that the child originally opened and hid in this compartment. Medics were called to the scene and evaluated the child due to the length of time the child was inside the compartment in the vehicle and the warm temperatures at the time the incident occurred. The child was reunited with relieved parents after being evaluated.
In the case of the missing child at the Extension Office there was no injury due to the child being located prior to becoming overheated or otherwise injured. From the time the child was discovered missing until the time the officer found him in the storage compartment was approximately 23 minutes.
The Lafayette Police Department would like to remind parents of the hazards of children playing in unattended vehicles. There are many storage compartments and convenient locations to keep property within these vehicles, but they could be potentially harmful to children. There are also many other items commonly kept in vehicles such as coolers, duffel bags, trash bags and plastic totes that are convenient for storage, but can be harmful or fatal if a child would climb inside and not be able to get out or call for help. A child in a hot vehicle and inside some type of compartment can easily overheat and become unresponsive which would lead to serious injury or death if not discovered quickly. This is yet another reason to keep unattended vehicles locked up.
Lieutenant Joseph Clyde #18
Lafayette Police Department
Patrol Shift Commander