9-year-old runaway found cold but safe

A young Thomson Township boy found after spending Tuesday night alone in the woods said he wasn't scared and that the experience was actually "kind of cool."...

Theodore "Teddy" Forsythe
Theodore "Teddy" Forsythe

A young Thomson Township boy found after spending Tuesday night alone in the woods said he wasn't scared and that the experience was actually "kind of cool."

"I could hear the frogs hopping around and stuff, but then the mosquitoes started bugging me and I was wet,"

9-year-old Theodore "Teddy" Forsythe said.

Teddy wandered into the woods about 7 p.m. Tuesday after an argument with his parents about cleaning his room, said his mother, Charity Forsythe. He went into his room a little before

7 p.m. When she went to check on him a little later, he was gone.


"He climbed out his window," she said. "I guess he wanted to spend some time in the woods."

He was wet from slipping on rocks that led across a creek behind his house to what Teddy described as a little island, where he decided to sleep for the night when he couldn't find his way back to his house.

"It was kind of cold so I just huddled up," he said.

Thinking it was unusual for her son to stay out so long, the family went out to look for him. When he didn't answer their calls, Charity said she assumed he would wander back on his own.

"Then it just kept getting later and later and I started to get worried," she said.

Charity called the police around 9 p.m. and a massive search ensued. Almost a dozen law enforcement agencies and fire departments from nearby counties and cities searched by land and air for the boy. Neighbors and friends pitched in as well.

"It was just amazing," Charity said. "There were people everywhere helping."

Teddy was located at around 7 a.m. Wednesday morning after he found his way to a rural residence and told the owners who he was. It wasn't until that morning that Teddy said he felt scared.


"I was trying to head home but I took the wrong route," he said. "I thought I could find my way."

Nancy Cox said she was awoken by her dogs barking and a knock at the back door.

She told the young person to go to the front, where her husband Bill was waiting.

"I glance up the driveway and there's no car. So I say, 'Well, hi. What's up?' and he said, 'Well, I ran away from home. Can I have something to eat?' " said Bill Cox.

"When we let him in we realized his clothes were soaking wet. Absolutely soaked ... head to toe. [We thought] 'We've got to get some dry clothes on him, some food in him. Then find out what's going on,' " Bill Cox said.

The Coxes had no idea the young boy in their home was reported missing.

Charity Forsythe and her husband, Adam, were reunited with their son shortly after he turned up at the residence.

"It was surreal ... a huge relief," Charity said about seeing her son.


Tom Crossmon, captain of the St. Louis County Rescue Squad, said these kinds of success stories aren't all that rare. A similar story happened in Palo last year when a 6-year-old boy spent the night in the woods and was found the next day.

"The turnout was about the same; the temperature was about the same," Crossman said. He added that temperature can play a major role in these kinds of incidents.

"The cooler temperatures are obviously a concern ... but if you're going to spend a night in the woods, now is a good time of year to do it, aside from the bugs."

Fox 21 News contributed to this report.

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