(Meredith) – A detective found a naked toddler lying in the dirt hours after his father abandoned him in the woods, police said.
Detective Doug Jackson and at least 50 other people, including volunteers and law enforcement, scoured a forested area near Bend, Oregon on Thursday searching for 1-year-old Bradley Thomas, the Oregonian reported
The boy’s father, Brandon M. Blouin, 25, told police he left his son in the woods to look for the child’s mother. Police suspect the father was “under the influence of a controlled substance” at the time, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.
Blouin had been staying in an SUV with the toddler and the boy’s 18-year-old mother when she reportedly wandered away. When she didn’t immediately return, Blouin said he took the child and tried looking for the woman. At some point, he put Bradley down and walked away.
Jackson followed the father’s footprints and found the little boy naked and asleep, lying face-down in the dirt.
Bradley was evaluated by paramedics at the scene before being transported to the hospital, but did not suffer any serious injuries.
“It was an incredible blessing to find him safe today. As you can see in this photo, he is wrapped in one of our jackets symbolizing the level of safety and protection that now surrounds him,” the sheriff’s office wrote in the caption.
Blouin was arrested and charged with criminal mistreatment, child neglect, endangering the welfare of a minor and assault. The sheriff’s office said the assault charge is related to an injury Bradley may have suffered while in Blouin’s care.
The child’s mother is not facing any charges.
Jackson told the Oregonian the boy “is doing incredibly well considering what he’s been through” and has been eating and smiling.
Bradley is currently under the care of the Oregon Department of Human Services.
Meanwhile, the sheriff’s office is collecting clothes, toys and blankets for the 1-year-old.