Dave LeDoux ended a tension-filled hour for a rural Brainerd family Thursday morning as he walked out of the woods behind Crow Wing Cabinets carrying 2-year-old Sebastian Kurtenbach.
The toddler who lives just west of the Highway 371 business left his home around 8:30 a.m. while his mother, Rachel Frimood, was in the bathroom. He was wearing a blue and yellow zip-up top and navy blue pants and was barefoot.
At first, Frimood said she thought her son had just stepped out into the yard to play with a toy. She said he had never ventured into the thick woods that surround their home unless he was with his sister or his parents were outside.
"I searched the wood lines," she said while calling his name. "I was walking the woods."
Sebastian Kurtenbach, 2, was hugged by his grandmother after being found in the woods near his Brainerd home. Brainerd Dispatch/Heidi Lake
She called her husband, who was working in Crosslake and enlisted her mother-in-law, who had stopped by, in her search. About 30 or 40 minutes after he was initially missing, law enforcement was called.
When the owners of Crow Wing Cabinets learned a neighbor boy was missing. They locked their doors and employees and the owners began searching the woods behind their business. There were about seven Crow Wing Cabinets employees and two owners involved in the search. Officials at the nearby Power Lodge volunteered the use of recreational vehicles for the search and also dispatched employees to help look for Sebastian.
Sandy Beyer, who along with her husband, Dave, owns Crow Wing Cabinets, had employees immediately search around the outside of their building and eventually the owners and employees went into the woods.
LeDoux, 58, said he noticed a child's footprint in a dried-up mud puddle in the woods. He was about two blocks from the child's home and about 50 yards from a nearby road. It was there, he found Sebastian, who was lying in the tall grass.
"Let's go find your mom," the grandfather of a 2- and 3-year-old said to the lost boy.
"Uh huh," was the boy's only response.
He carried the boy out of the woods at about 9:30 a.m. and the search was over. LeDoux said the woods were thick with many dead limbs and branches.
He handed the boy over to Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Chad Paulson who turned him over to a relieved and exhausted mother.
Paulson told the boy that he wasn't in trouble but that he had worried his parents.
Frimood and her son went inside an ambulance where he was checked over. Frimood said that other than a few scratches and some small bumps that were possibly from bee stings or a reaction to some plants, her son appeared fine.
Sebastian's stepfather, Jerry Frimood, left his Crosslake work site and was able to thank LeDoux for finding the boy.
"I'm so happy," he said.
Responding were the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department, police departments from Brainerd, Baxter and Nisswa, the State Patrol and the Brainerd Fire Department.
MIKE O'ROURKE may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5860.
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